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02-15-09, 03:18 PM #1
Retired Boxing Champion Seeks to Become Massachusetts Officer
The City Council is seeking a waiver to a state law that prohibits people older than 32 from being appointed to the Police and Fire departments so a former local boxing star can be eligible to take an upcoming Civil Service police test.
The council Tuesday night asked the city administration to file special legislation that would allow Jose Antonio Rivera, 36, to take the Civil Service test and have his name certified for appointment to the Police Department should he pass it and all other associated requirements.
Mr. Rivera, a retired three-time world boxing champion, works as a court officer.
In 2001, the council adopted a local option statute that reintroduced an age limit for hiring police officers and firefighters. The age requirement for entry firefighter and police positions is now 19 to 32.
Since adopting that provision, the council has sought and received from the Legislature two exemptions so individuals older than 32 could pursue public safety appointments in the city.
Councilor-at-Large Frederick C. Rushton, who sponsored the order, said the waiver would do nothing more than give Mr. Rivera a chance to take the Civil Service test.
"Given the city's budget situation, it's probably a long shot at best that (Mr. Rivera) will be wearing the blue of the Worcester Police Department any time soon," Mr. Rushton said yesterday. "But the least we can do is give him a chance. In order to even be able to take the test, he needs to get a waiver."
Mr. Rushton said it is worthwhile for the city to seek the special legislation because he feels Mr. Rivera is "a proven leader, a proven role model, a person of tremendous integrity" and someone who is committed to law enforcement
He said Mr. Rivera, as a result of his boxing career, is in much better physical condition than many people in their late-20s or early 30s.
The councilor added that the legislation would give Mr. Rivera no special consideration and any appointment to the Police Department would be subject to the same conditions and regulations that apply to all candidates.
"He has the qualities to be an exceptional police officer," Mr. Rushton said. "The law does provide for exceptions and we have sought and received similar waivers twice before."
The city had long had an age limit of 32 for hiring police officers and firefighters, but the Legislature abolished that limit in 1987 when it passed a pension reform law.
But the police and fire chiefs statewide, as well as the unions representing police and firefighters, pushed for the reintroduction of an age limit. They felt that by having no age limit, people hired in their 40s and 50s would be more susceptible to injury and subsequently end up on long-term, injured-on-duty status.
02-16-09, 02:16 PM #2
How stupid/strange is them setting the age limit at 32 to begin with?????
I even think the standard 35 age limit is a bit low. Considering that most civilians hit retirement age at 62, and that most departments want to get 25 years out of an officer, I think a good age limit (if there is even to be one at all) would be 37. Or if a dept. feels that 20 years is good enough for the time and money put into the officer, then 42 could be a good limit. But since officers can bolt after being trained anyway (even if a dept. makes them sign a contract for 2-4 years, they can bolt after that), if I was a department head, I would rather pick the kind of officer that would do better work for the department than to worry about how long the officer can work.CHIRP! CHIRP!
02-16-09, 04:09 PM #3
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