A statewide organization of police chiefs is backing Boston police Commissioner William B. Evans’ call for shared jurisdiction in the Seaport, sending a letter to state officials criticizing the setup where state police patrol the growing neighborhood as detrimental to residents and visitors.
The Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs Association, which is made up of chiefs from three dozen Bay State cities, sent the letter to Executive Office of Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett yesterday, urging him to support BPD patrols of the Seaport.
wUnder state law, BPD responds to emergencies in the area, which is on Massport land, but the state police and Massport police have jurisdiction.
Evans and other Boston officials have repeatedly called for shared jurisdiction, and city councilors held a hearing on the issue last week that state police officials skipped. Yesterday, the council proposed a bill that would change state law limiting BPD’s involvement, and the MMCC’s letter also weighs in against state police control.
“As local police chiefs the concept of so-called ‘sole jurisdiction’ is a policing dictum of the past,” the letter reads in part. “It lends itself to significant delays in the delivery of public safety responses, leads to miscommunication/misunderstanding, increased frustration, and endangers overall officer safety and all to the detriment of the residents who are entitled to the highest quality of policing services available.”
Evans said he did not ask the organization to write the letter, but appreciated the support.
“I’m glad they stepped forward. I think they realized they could face similar issues,” Evans said. “Usually the governor and the Legislature rely on this board for advice. … They see it as an injustice, they think clearly it should be fixed.”