In 2013, Donnie Wahlberg and his crews followed Boston cops around for a documentary series about how they did their jobs and protected the community from the bad guys. One of them was Robert "Twitch" Twitchell of Norton, who today was one of nine current and retired cops charged by federal officials with putting in bogus overtime payments while working at the BPD evidence warehouse in Hyde Park.
The charges of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds could mean a prison sentence of ten years if he's found guilty, although if his and the other cases proceed like earlier, similar charges against state troopers, the sentence might involve just probation. Twitchell was charged with putting in for some $25,000 in bogus overtime between 2016 and 2019.
In an episode of the Wahlberg series titled "End of Days," Twitchell was followed as he ended his career as a detective on the Youth Violence Strike Force - the gang unit - just before his promotion to sergeant in Hyde Park.
In the episode, Twitchell discussed his BPD career - and the chronic neck problems he had had since the 1990s, when a suspect he had just gotten out of a car picked him up and slammed him to the ground, problems that ultimately forced him into surgery in 2011. He credited his fellow officers for fundraising so he and his wife - who had lost her job not long before a doctor told him if he didn't have surgery, he could be paralyzed for life - could keep their house.
Near the end of the show, he and his fellow gang-unit officers are shown taking down a gun suspect.
"There's nothing more satisfying for me when we take a violent or dangerous criminal off the street," he said. "It really makes me feel like I'm doing something for the community members who expect us to keep them safe and protected on a daily basis."
We next saw him in his dress uniform for a ceremony at BPD headquarters, where then Commissioner Ed Davis and Mayor Tom Menino officially promoted him to sergeant in Hyde Park.
The night the series premiered, Boston Police tweeted:
Said Sgt. Bobby 'Twitch' Twitchell, "Boston's Finest shows that we are regular human beings." Premiere airs TONIGHT @ 9pm!!!
Twitchell, whom the US Attorney's office says is now retired, earned $64,280 in regular salary, $54,649 in sick-leave pay and $1,808 in overtime pay in 2019, according to BPD payroll records. The year before, he earned $114,216 in salary and $50,874 in overtime; and in 2017, $107,013 in salary and $30,933 in overtime.