In Woburn, Massachusetts, Police Chief Philip Mahoney and on-duty officers had to restore order on Tuesday when about 50 off-duty officers from Woburn and nearby towns protested the use of civilian flaggers at roadside construction projects.
A new rule went into effect earlier this week which reclassified Massachusetts Highway Department projects into a three-tiered system and allowed for the use of civilian flaggers in lieu of police officers in some areas. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who issued the new rules, said that police officers are not needed at all roadside construction sites and that the old system added unnecessary expense. Police officers earn $30-45 per hour, which flaggers are paid about $15-26 per hour.
The protestors parked on a state highway and entered a posted work zone, which are both illegal. They interrupted the work of a road maintenance crew and heckled the flaggers. One officer went so far as to drive down the street against the flow of traffic, claiming a flagger had misdirected him. The off-duty officers were instructed to stay out of the way of the crews clearing catch basins.
Mass. police officers protest civilian flaggers, Associated Press, October 8, 2008
Construction worksites can have hazards including on-site explosions, scaffolding accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. If you have been injured on a construction site, then contact our Massachusetts construction site accident attorneys to discuss your case.