Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Going, Going, Gone!

It's official - Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole is calling it quits.

Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole is expected to announce this afternoon that she will step down to take a job with the national police force in Ireland, according to two city officials familiar with her intentions.

O'Toole met privately with Mayor Thomas M. Menino earlier today and the two have scheduled a press conference to reveal her intentions at 4:30 p.m.

The announcement finally will put to rest rampant speculation about her future amidst a crime wave that left seven people dead in as many days last week and nearly doubled the number of shootings in the city compared to the same period last year.

When the going gets tough...

Menino, who said earlier today that he would not try to persuade her to stay if she resigned, said O'Toole has "done a good job" for the city.

A "good job" at what, exactly? Let's review.

Flashback - December 30, 2004:

Enlisting neighborhood crime fighters in the war against terror and turning the tide on a homicide wave will have Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole's undivided attention in the coming year.

That would be the "coming year" of 2005 that saw the homicide rate in Boston reach a ten-year high. Way to turn that tide!

Flashback - January 18, 2005:

Boston cops have started two new programs to stem the violence that left 66 people dead last year - the highest murder rate in a decade, police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole told the Herald yesterday.


So far, the results have been promising, O'Toole noted. The city is 18 days into the new year without a single homicide victim.

Yeah, but those new programs probably only had three or four steps to 'em. Everyone knows you need at least five.

O'Toole said she is "keeping her fingers crossed," the calm continues.

Ah, yes, the "fingers crossed" approach to crime-fighting. It's a fine accompaniment to the "cower and pray" method of self-defense, practiced by the law-abiding residents of Boston.

And we all saw for how long that technique paid dividends...

Flashback - February 3, 2005:

After more than a month in hibernation from the lethal blood-letting that scarred 2004, one man was murdered, a teenager shot and two people viciously stabbed during a two-hour rude awakening for Boston yesterday morning.

Drats! And, I thought she was onto something there, too. Can we uncross our fingers now, Kathleen?

So, what has she done in the last two years to warrant such praise from her boss, Mayor Menino? Well, more recently, she did come up with this cutting-edge crime-fighting strategy a few months ago.

Flashback December 2, 2005:

Police Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole said she is ordering officers in the next several days to sweep every neighborhood in the city and arrest people with outstanding warrants.

Arresting people with outstanding warrants? What will they think of next? One can only hope that her successor is capable of such outside-the-box thinking as that.

And, then there's this, my favorite Kathy O'Toole news item from the last two years. In the aftermath of a shooting in Boston, where a 16-year-old was arrested for possessing and firing a high-capacity, semiautomatic handgun in a park near his house, our fearless (and soon-to-be former) police commissioner had this to say...

Flashback August 6, 2004:

In the past couple of days, the two have met repeatedly to discuss ways of limiting the number of guns on the street, O'Toole said, adding that officials are also considering ways to tighten gun laws in Massachusetts, specifically concerning where guns may be carried -- such as parks.

Yep, gotta plug up that "It's perfectly legal for 16-year-old punks to possess, carry, and discharge high-capacity semiautomatic handguns in the city's parks" loophole.

Perhaps the "good job" Menino was referring to was the "good job" she's done presiding over the massive overtime scam being perpetrated by her department's homicide detectives - the ones who have "earned" the reputation of the worst homicide squad in America.

I hope "Luck of the Irish" is more than just a cute saying.

They're gonna need it.