Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans at the WGBH Studio at the Boston Public Library.

Credit: Ellen London/WGBH News

Police Commissioner Evans Laments 'Turf Battle' Between City And State Police In Seaport

January 31, 2018

Boston’s Seaport District is up-and-coming, filled with brand new apartment buildings and hip restaurants. Despite all the new development, an old sore spot still exists — jurisdictional issues between state and city police.

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans joined Boston Public Radio to air his grievances about restrictions on city police in the Seaport today. 

“The Seaport is out of control,” he said. “That’s the biggest joke going. [For the state police] to have exclusive jurisdiction in a major part of our city is just ludicrous.”

Massport owns 400 acres in South Boston, including the Boston Fish Pier, the Seaport Boston Hotel and the Park Lane Seaport Apartment. Since the assets belong to the state, they're the responsibility of the state police.

Evans has been trying to gain shared jurisdiction over the area for years, and state and city police have been clashing over the right to answer emergency calls in the Seaport since at least 2009.

“There’s these silly jurisdictional issues,” he said. “We work well together every day but it bothers me that we’re into this turf battle.”

Seaport residents pay city taxes and have access to city EMS and firefighters, but not police — a fact Evans calls “ridiculous.”

“People pay city taxes down there, and they’re paying big, big money to live down there,” he said. “They get Boston firemen, they get Boston EMS, but they don’t get the Boston police. Now how ridiculous is that? You pay city taxes but you don’t get city police.”

Evans said the Legislature doesn’t have the “courage” to confront the problem.

The state police have a powerful union and many politicians seek their endorsement.

“When I ask them give me one reason why, all I hear is crickets,” Evans said. “They know how ridiculous it is.”

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans joins us every month to take our questions and your calls. To listen to this interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.


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