Hey, there! Log in / Register

City officials have started their annual effort to wrest exclusive policing control of the seaport from State Police

The City Council approved a measure by at-large Councilor Steve Murphy to hold a hearing on a proposed state law that would let Boston police officers respond to calls in what has become one of Boston's fastest growing neighborhoods. H.2107, sponsored by state Rep. Nick Collins (D-South Boston), would give Boston Police joint jurisdiction in the area.

The state legislature gave State Police jurisdiction over Massport land along the water in South Boston in 1996, when the area consisted mainly of docks and parking lots. But with the area now crowded with offices, residences and construction sites of more offices and residents, local officials say confusion over who residents and visitors should call is causing problems.

Council President Bill Linehan said that in cases of domestic violence, for example, the BPD will respond to a call but once the matter is taken to court, it will get thrown out because the officer did not have jurisdiction. "Perpetrators get off because of that one detail," he said.

"[State Police jurisdiction] was put in place with the unique situation of the airport," Linehan said. "That's no longer the case. People live there."

Murphy, chairman of the council's public-safety committee, said the matter has appeared before the Massachusetts house three times before and is currently in the Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Murphy turned to Charles Dickens to express his frustration, saying, "the Law is an ass." Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain) added Voltaire's words, "Common sense is not so common." Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Fenway, Beacon Hill, Mission Hill) added, "I don't have any good literary quotes but I fully align myself with what's already been said."

Neighborhoods: 
Ad:

Comments

a municipality does not have jurisdiction over itself? It's not like Nuevo Southie is a port complex or military installation. BPD needs to have jurisdiction over all land, including parks, within city limits, such as the Southwest Corridor Park.

up
Voting closed 0

I cannot be certain, but I believe that there are other examples (perhaps within the old Fort Devens, where MassDevelopment mostly calls the shots, but the land nominally sits within Shirley, Ayer and Harvard). Other examples might include federal enclaves (e.g., military bases).

In any case, a lot has changed since the creation of Massport in 1956 and the passage of the law (in 1996) that this proposal seeks to amend.

At the time of the creation of Massport, all of the area in question fit the description of "exclusively to port operations". But there wasn't a whole lot of use because it was a time of great economic stagnation (or decline) for both the City and the Commonwealth. As you might imagine, the City was more than happy to not have to worry about it. While that land was nominally "in Boston" (remembering, of course, that it was at one point not land at all) it was really thought of and considered to be a "state enclave".

Of course, a lot has changed in the last 15 years, but there are a lot of knotty legal issues in the background the implications of which need to be evaluated before a change is made (for example, the use of the word "exclusive" in H.2107 is way to broad - there are plenty of areas at Logan Airport that are not "exclusive to aviation operations", and no one is suggesting that the BPD have concurrent jurisdiction there for good reasons).

up
Voting closed 0

Should be BPD, not Staties.

up
Voting closed 0

That I've seen in Boston proper: Shore Patrol, Veterans Affairs Police, Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police, Massport Police, Transit Police, Boston Police, Boston University Police, Northeastern University Police, Emerson University Police, Suffolk University Police, Boston School Department Police. I assume BC has cops but I'm not out that way often so haven't seen them. I believe Boston Park Rangers have police powers. Does not include FBI, Secret Service that may be stationed here. What did I miss?

up
Voting closed 0

Amongst those you forgot: a few schools' departments, the BHA's housing police, and the Suffolk Sheriff's officers. But it was even better in the old days when the Capitol building had its own police. There was also the MDC Police and the RMV Police. All three of those got absorbed by the state police I believe.

up
Voting closed 0

HUPD, because of the Allston campus?

up
Voting closed 0

for about 50 square miles of land, or 32,000 acres. That's 1600 acres per department. BPD alone has 2100+ officers. How many in the 19 or so other departments? How about a conservative third of BPD's total for all the rest combined, so another 700 for 2800 total. 2800 police officers for 1600 acres, divided into three shifts means 933 for 1600 acres, or one on-shift officer for every 1.7 acres. The Boston Public Garden is 24 acres. So there should be 24/1.7 = 14 officers on duty there around the clock. Maybe one can be stationed on a swan boat.

up
Voting closed 0

Boston Municipal Police - different from Boston Police Department.

up
Voting closed 0

Boston Municipal Protective Services -- which is an agency within Boston's Property & Construction Management Department (i.e., totally separate from the police department).

up
Voting closed 0

If I lived in the Seaport, and had an emergency, I would just feel SO MUCH more comfortable speaking with BPD then a Statie.

up
Voting closed 0

It's a serious question, not an implied knock on the BPD. My personal feeling is that in nearly every situation where I would need a cop, the nearest one will almost always do.

up
Voting closed 0

Not, true...if you call 911 none of those agencies get dispatched, or have powers outside their small jurisdictions. Joint jurisdiction between BPD and State is common sense, the Massport Cops are rent a cops who have no experience with real police work of Mass General Laws...

up
Voting closed 0

The only police I see down at the seaport is the Massport Police parked by the No Name and the Transit Police on the Silver Line which runs down the middle of the seaport.. BPD and Transit share jurisdiction on the MBTA so why not Massport.

up
Voting closed 0

It all comes down to police details. Since there is a lot of construction in the area, there are a lot of lucrative police details.

Once the construction tapers off, the staties will be happy to hand it over to BPD.

up
Voting closed 0

Even more lucrative for BPD and Boston is all the liquor licenses. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but neither the state police or the massport police are allowed to do details in an establishment where liquor is served. If true that means all the restaurants down there don't have to hire cops.

Also I would like to know the crime rate down there and the percentage solved. maybe we should also hear from the businesses and residents down there.

It seems that I read about 3 or shootings in Boston before I got to this article. Maybe BPD should concentrate on that before taking on more.

up
Voting closed 0