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August 29, 2013
Councilors Linehan and Murphy Announce Council Backing for Police Jurisdiction Law

The Council voted unanimously to adopt this resolution last week.   Councilors’ Linehan and Murphy held a hearing on this matter back in 2011; arguments regarding potential problems with BPD’s lack of jurisdiction were made, and have now come to realization.

A recent sexual assault that began on the South Boston Waterfront once again brought the police jurisdictional issue to the forefront.  It became evident that, in the absence of concurrent jurisdiction, critical public safety information was not being shared with the Boston Police in a timely manner.  This lack of communication severely hinders the Boston Police’s ability to appropriately protect and notify the public.

Boston is the only major city that does not have at least concurrent jurisdiction within all of its city’s boundaries.  The lack of concurrent jurisdiction also raises some serious problems regarding the regulation of bars and restaurants along the waterfront.  Currently the BPD, without the appropriate jurisdiction, is unable to check for potential license violations such as over serving of patrons or overcrowding of establishments.  Additionally, the state police have no jurisdiction related to liquor licenses in the City of Boston, including the South Boston Waterfront.  Without concurrent jurisdiction, these bars and restaurants are operating in a regulatory gray area.  This common sense legislation should be passed by the state legislature to provide appropriate protection and oversight of these establishments.

Councilor Linehan said, “I commend Representative Collins on his efforts.  As the waterfront area continues to grow, we need to make sure we have the proper protections and services in place to prevent any further problems.  This is about the residents, employees and patrons in the area, not the police. ” 

Council President Murphy added, “The South Boston Waterfront has been a crucial part of the development of this City for some time now. It is no longer the no-man’s land of shipping containers. It now contains bars, restaurants, businesses, entertainment and residences. All these are historically protected and regulated by the City of Boston within its own boundaries, but because of a loophole in the legislation that enabled MassPort to own the land down there, the South Boston Waterfront was exempt from this. This legislation will put licensing, regulation, and protection back in the hands of the City of Boston. Our police department will be able to properly serve this part of the City. I commend Representative Collins and Councilor Linehan for taking action on this important issue.”

If you have any questions you may contact the office of City Councilor Bill Linehan at 617-635-3203 or the office of City Council President Stephen Murphy at 617-635-4376.

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