JP district expands

January 9, 2009
By

DAVID TABER

FOREST HILLS/WOODBOURNE .—In a surprise move, the Boston Police Department announced late last month that it would expand the boundaries of Jamaica Plain’s E-13 district at midnight Jan. 1.

The change expands the E-13 district to include the Woodbourne and West Roxbury District Court neighborhoods to the east of Forest Hills Station.

Community members had for years advocated for the district to be expanded, saying that having districts E-13 and E-18 meet so close to the Forest Hills Orange Line T Station hampered community policing efforts around the busy transportation hub.

In 2005, the now-dormant Greater Forest Hills Task Force wrote a letter requesting that the police district be expanded to cover all of Forest Hills. “At first blush [the recent expansion] appears to honor the request we made in 2005,” task force member Karen Caplan Doherty told the Gazette in an e-mail. She said she had not had time to closely compare the changes to the task force’s 2005 proposal.

In August, BPD representatives announced that the BPD was considering redrawing the district map. At that time acting E-13 Commander Lt. Michael Kern said the BPD hoped to make the shift by November, so it would coincide with the police academy graduation of a new group of BPD cadets.

When asked in November about the status of the plan, BPD spokesperson Ed Crispin said there was “nothing in the works in the immediate future.”

BPD spokesperson Elaine Driscoll told the Gazette the change came on Jan. 1 because that is when the new year begins for crime data reporting. She did not comment on the suddenness of the changes, or on the decision not to host a public meeting on the changes. When the plans were originally announced in August, Kern said there would be a community meeting.

E-13 Community Relations Officer Eric Krause said his district was informed of the changes in the last week of the year.

“Wow, that’s great. I am psyched they are getting around to this…I would like to welcome E-13 to Forest Hills,” local resident David Hannon said when informed by the Gazette of the then impending change.

In the case of at least one walking beat officer, it will be a case of meet the new cop, same as the old cop.

Officer John Sullivan, formerly stationed at the E-18 station in Hyde Park, has transferred to E-13 to continue to patrol the Woodbourne neighborhood, Krause said.

Louise Outler of the Tower-Woodlawn Neighborhood Crimewatch previously told the Gazette that group was con-cerned about severing its long-standing relationship with community officers at E-18.

Krause told the Gazette similar sentiments were expressed at a meeting between E-13 officers and the crime-watch group. “They wanted him there, and we wanted him there. It worked out,” he said.

In addition to the walking beat, E-13 will assign one sector car to the area, Krause said.

E-13 community relations officers will meet with other neighborhood groups, including the Asticou-Martinwood Neighborhood Association, to go over the changes. Both Caplan Doherty and Hannon are members of that group.

The changes extend the boundary south on Hyde Park Ave. to Brookway Road, then northeast on Neponset Ave. and American Legion Highway to Morton St. From there it heads northwest on Morton back to Forest Hills Ave. They essentially align the police district with the 02130 postal code, except for a small section of Egleston Square, where the police district extends into the 02119 zip code. The police district is now the same as the JP Gazette’s distribution area.

Citywide, changes were also made to three other police districts.