A Message From The Police Commissioner To Boston Police Personnel

The Boston Police Homicide Unit, under the extremely able direction ofDeputy Superintendent Daniel Coleman, continues to put incredible effort into the investigation of the recent murder of four young men in Dorchester. With determination and compassion, they have worked around the clock since Tuesday evening. It's the same effort I've personally witnessed time and time again over the past few years as they and other Boston Police officers have worked so hard in the face of big challenges. While there is always pressure to produce timely results, investigations of this nature are extremely complicated and must be conducted in a very methodical way. A premature arrest in a homicide case may ease public concern and media pressure, but justice will only be served if the investigation conducted identifies the correct perpetrator(s) and leads to an air-tight conviction. The quality of homicide cases presented by Boston Police and Suffolk County prosecutors has never been better than it is today. Those who are quick to cite the decrease in clearance rate should pay close attention to the conviction rate of BPD/Suffolk County cases now and in the future. I'm certain that the BPD could significantly increase the clearance rate by prematurely arresting possible suspects and cutting investigative corners in homicide cases, but neither Deputy Coleman nor I will allow that to happen. We will continue to keep the public informed on this and other cases to the best extent possible, but never to the point where we could undermine a future conviction. As is always the case in a high-profile investigation, there are lots of rumors and much speculation circulating. While I'm not questioning the good intentions of most journalists or those contributing to their stories, I’d like to clarify or put into appropriate context some of the statements attributed to me and others. On several occasions, I've indicated that it's much too early to draw conclusions about motive or evidence in this case. I have confirmed that there didn't appear to be forced entry. I've said that, at this time, there is no evidence of gang or drug activity. I have never indicated that we have a suspect or suspects in this case, but when asked about homicides in general, have said that the vast majority are crimes of passion between people who know each other. Again, I have qualified every statement I've made by reiterating that it's much too early to draw definitive conclusions or rule anything out in this investigation. I also want to very clearly address the role of federal law enforcement in this case. Neither Boston officers nor the public should read anything into this. Because we have enjoyed good working relationships in recent years with the FBI, DEA and ATF, they reached out to us this past week through U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan to offer support resources they have that could possibly be helpful to us. Mr. Sullivan began the discussion by complimenting the work of the BPD and our Homicide Unit and stressing that they have no desire to interfere in any way. He offered that each agency would identify an on-call representative to respond to BPD Homicide Unit requests for technical assistance that may surface. For example, the FBI has highly trained analysts with ready access to phone records. They have behavioral science resources that we don't have internally. While we have an extraordinary crime lab, ATF and DEA may have specialized lab resources that could supplement our own. The federal agencies generally have video and photo enhancement capability that surpasses ours. These are just a few examples of technical resources that have either been lent to the BPD in past cases and/or are available to investigators now on a moment's notice. The SAC's from the FBI, DEA and ATF also said that they would reach out to their investigators who have intelligence sources who could be useful to the BPD Homicide Unit. Bottom line: The Feds are not coming in to take over a BPD/Suffolk county case. To even imply that is absurd. These valuable partners are simply standing at the ready to respond to Deputy Coleman's requests if he has any need for their services. Why would we ever refuse that genuine offer of support? In closing, as questions or concerns arise on these or other issues, please don't hesitate to send your feedback either through Media Relations, our new BPD blog, or to the Office of the Police Commissioner e-mail address. As always, I'd rather address the rumors or concerns head-on. Thank you again to all Department personnel. I see first-hand how hard you're working during very challenging times and I genuinely appreciate it. Kathleen M. O’Toole