BPD realignment in JP districts stalls

November 7, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

FOREST HILLS—Since a plan to include all of the area around Forest Hills T Station in one Boston Police Department (BPD) district was first announced in August, the plan does not appear to have moved forward.

To date, no community meetings have been held or scheduled. Two weeks ago police spokesperson Ed Crispin said there is “nothing in the works in the immediate future,” for the plan.

Residents have complained for years that public safety is compromised in the busy commuter hub because sections of it are in different police jurisdictions. Sections of the neighborhood are served by BPD districts E-13, E-18 and E-5. Additionally, the nearby Southwest Corridor Park is under state police jurisdiction, and MBTA police serve Forest Hills Station itself.

Police Lt. Michael Kern, who is serving as E-13 interim district commander, and Deputy Superintendent Michael Cox, head of Area E, originally announced the plan at the Aug. 13 meeting of the Forest Hills Improvement initiative (FHII).

At the time, Kern suggested the redistricting would be completed by November.

The FHII was a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA)-led community process about development around the Forest Hills T Station. Some of the parcels considered in the process are now for sale by the MBTA. Throughout the two-year process, community members repeatedly brought up concerns about public safety, particularly about the area being policed by five different jurisdictions.

Both the E-13 and E-18 police districts serve the area around the station. The east side of the station is patrolled by E-13, the JP district. To the west of the station, Hyde Park Avenue and the Arborway heading toward Franklin Park form the E-13/E-18 boundary. Moving the boundary to up near the intersection of Neponset Avenue and Hyde Park, so that E-13 police would patrol the entire area around the station, would create more continuity in community policing, said David Hannon of the Asticou-Martinwood Neighborhood Association.

It’s an idea that enjoys “near unanimous” support from the community, said Hannon, who lives on the east side of the station. It would, among other things, create more continuity in community policing efforts, he said.

Louise Otler of the Tower/Woodlawn neighborhood Crime Watch on the E-18 side of the station, said that have formed strong relationships with the E-18 district, but are not opposed to the switch.

One positive outcome of the FHII process is that the community is much more organized than it has been, Hannon said. “The community has really coalesced,” and may be in a stronger position to advocate for itself, he said.

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