On Tuesday, Commissioner Kathleen M. O'Toole met with approximately 100 students from Emerson College. The goal of this forum was to facilitate an open dialog between the Boston Police Department and Emerson students. Joining Commissioner O'Toole was Captain Bernard O'Rourke, Commander of District A-1. The evening included discussions on a number of topics, including:
Quality of Life enforcement in the Theater District Commissioner O'Toole discussed the Boston Police Department's commitment to the Broken Windows theory of policing, and how much of the quality of life enforcement is a direct response to specific concerns raised by members of a particular community. The most persistent complaints in any community are often for the so-called “minor offenses”, such as graffiti, vandalism, and public intoxication. The new Citation Book being issued to Boston Police officers Officers now have the option to issue citations for misdemeanor offenses. For students, this means that police have an intermediate step to address infractions, rather than resorting to arrest. Drug dealing and prostitution in and around the Theater District, the Boston Common, and the Public Gardens Students expressed concerns about the activity surrounding their campus, including the Boston Common. Commissioner O’Toole and Captain O’Rourke discussed the deployment of officers in the area, and several enforcement initiatives that may be underway at any given time, including
- Operation Rolling Thunder, in which a targeted area is saturated with officers for a limited time.
- The use of intelligence to target the time and place of specific crimes
- The transient nature of the drug dealers in the area
- The existence of directed patrols in the area, including undercover operations
- The focus that the Department places on many of the clubs that operate in that area.
Treatment options for people arrested for drug violations Students expressed concerns that incarceration of offenders may not address any underlying substance abuse issues. Security plans for the bio lab currently under construction in Boston A security plan is in place, and will be continually updated as the construction proceeds. Boston Police Department policies on diversity, use of force, and processing of complaints against police officers. Students were informed of efforts by the Department to enhance the diversity of our workforce, so that we better reflect the community we serve. Commissioner also discussed efforts to ensure that complaints against officers are properly investigated, as well as the number of complaints that that were sustained in recent years. A more detailed accounting is provided in our 2004 Annual Report. Youth Violence Students also asked for information about how they can get involved in preventing crime, and how to help stop the youth violence occurring in some of our neighborhoods. Commissioner O’Toole takes a question from a student Commissioner O’Toole interviewed by a member of the Emerson student media