As it has done in years past, the Boston City Council voted today to formally ask the state Legislature to let Boston Police patrol the South Boston Waterfront. Although Boston officers respond there in emergencies, legally, State Police have jurisdiction.
State Police have beaten back similar efforts in the past, but that was before the recent series of scandals that led Gov. Baker to reorganize some State Police barracks and to make his own request to State Police to consider letting BPD share patrol duties in the Seaport, which has transformed from a sleepy series of parking lots and cargo areas to an actual Boston neighborhood with residents, stores, offices and hotels.
A pissed off Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale) filed the home-rule petition today, several days after State Police refused to send anybody to a council hearing last week on the issue.
"We deserve better than what happened last Friday," he said, noting State Police only notified the council of its intention to not come to City Hall in an e-mail at 9:59 p.m. on Thursday. He called the slight "incredibly disrespectful and unprofessional."
McCarthy and Councilor Ed Flynn (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, Downtown) said the issue is not detail work, but the need to give Seaport residents and businesses the same coverage and protection as other Boston residents. BPD, they said, focuses on community policing and sends officers to community meetings and other functions to build up the trust needed to have residents actually call police in an emergency.
Letting BPD formally share patrol duties in the area requires legislative approval because of a law - passed when nobody lived in the district - assigned coverage to State Police.