Police Capt. John Greland took over command of Jamaica Plain’s E-13 police station June 8, becoming the district’s fifth commander in less than five years.
Greland took over for acting commander Lt. Richard Houston. Before Houston, the station was run briefly by acting commander Lt. Michael Kern, who has twice served as the district’s acting commander.
Prior to Kern’s latest stint, Capt. Christine Michalosky was E-13’s last official commander. She came on in November 2007 and served for less than a year before being placed on medical leave.
In a recent Gazette interview, Greland said he is “not planning on going anywhere. Hopefully, I am here for years to come.”
He noted, however, that he got the call informing him he had been assigned to E-13 on June 4, four days before he started. “It would be nice to say I am going to be here for five or six years, but I have no say in that,” he said.
Out of the starting gate, Greland said he is paying particular attention to a spike in robberies in the district this year. Between last year and this year, “They have almost doubled,” he said. There were 37 robberies between Jan. 1 and June 14 last year, and 71 during the same period this year, he said.
Robberies are thefts from a person. Burglaries—thefts from property—are down compared to last year, Greland said.
He said E-13 will respond with strategic deployments.
He said he has a small amount of grant money–about $30,000—to put toward “station assignment” patrols. That will mean the district can dedicate patrols to target neighborhoods that would only respond to 911 calls outside of the patrol area if there are no other officers avail-able.
“It will keep them in the area in uniform,” he said.
Greland also said, depending on availability, he will continue efforts to maintain foot patrols around the district, including in Egleston Square.
Betsy Cowan, director of Egleston Square Main Streets, recently told the Gazette foot patrols have been absent from the area in recent months and she was advocating for their return.
When the Gazette spoke to Greland at District E-13 headquarters, at the corner of Green and Washington streets, Community Service Officer Carlos Lara was on his way to an instructional session regarding the BPD’s new initiative to crime information to a publicly accessible map-ping web site. The site, www.crimereports.com, is a national crime-tracking web site where police reports can be searched by city, ZIP Code or street address.
That web site does not appear to include crimes committed in the Southwest Corridor Park. The park is in State Police jurisdiction and a spate of assaults and attempted robberies there have led to community frustration over poor communication from the state police.
Greland said he hopes lines of communication stay open between the city and state police. “If it happens in my district and I don’t know what’s going on with the investigation, it creates a problem,” he said.
But, he said, those the city does assist the state in those investigations. “If it happens in the city, the State Police are going to ask us who the bad guys are—who are the guys we deal with all the time,” he said.
Greland, who served as commander of District C-11 in Dorchester for close to three years before coming to JP, said he thinks leading the E-13 district will be easier than that assignment.
E-13 is smaller, he said, and while “you’ve got a lot of good people [in Dorchester]—a lot of groups working and trying to do the right thing—there are so many groups here, it makes it easier. There is a great community service office, and the community is very involved.”
Greland, who has been a member of the BPD since 1985, has also been assigned to Districts 18 and 2 and has had assignments at the Boston Police Academy, Internal Affairs, Court Unit and the Evidence/Property Unit. He has been a captain since 2005.