Boston cops demand long guns in angry union letter -- but reject body cameras
Police officers aiming their guns (Shutterstock)

Three unions representing police officers in Boston ripped both local officials and President Barack Obama in a letter accusing them of neglecting their safety, the Boston Herald reported.

"You can sing cumbia (sic) 'til the cows come home, but that won't stop a Rifle Round Aimed at a Police Officer's Chest," the letter stated. "We live in a world where a sitting President has basically 'fanned the flames of Police hatred' with political rhetoric and now a sitting Governor is politically afraid to speak."

The letter, which was signed by the presidents of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, Boston Police Superior Officers Federation, and Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, demands not only an increase in department staffing but the issuing of long guns with "ample ammunition" for use by patrol officers, as well as ballistic shields and helmets and "extra-loaded" magazines.

At the same time, however, the unions called for the removal of officers' names from city databases, which WCVB-TV reported would be illegal.

The letter does not mention body cameras, but according to WFXT-TV, members of the Patrolmen's Association rejected a pilot project during a meeting on Thursday that would involve issuing the devices to 100 volunteering officers.

Police Commissioner William Evans said during the meeting that the program has been unpopular with his officers, but that he would assign cameras for use if not enough of them stepped forward.

Activists have criticized the department for failing to meet the original July 1 launch date for the program. Instead, Evans reached an agreement with the unions to implement it by September.

"This should not have taken this long," said Segun Idowu of the Boston Police Camera Action Team. "Body cameras are not a two-year issue."

The unions' letter also argued that officers "are being murdered across this country at an alarming rate." As the Christian Science Monitor reported, 32 officers had been shot and killed as of July 20 -- a 78 percent increase compared to last year at that point in the year. But FBI data released in May showed a 20 percent decrease in police killings last year compared to 2014.

WFXT's report can be seen below.