CPs Explore Policing Options Across RiverBy Douglas E. Heimburger
Editor in Chief
As Boston-based living groups prepare to rush incoming freshmen, the Campus Police are considering attempting to gain new legal powers enabling them to patrol in Boston.
Last week, the Boston Licensing Board ordered the Institute to prepare a report detailing its decision on whether to gain deputy privileges withinSuffolk County, which includes Boston.
Under Massachusetts General Law, campus police forces have jurisdiction only in the areas owned by the institution.
However, when campus police forces are deputized in a county, they can act in lieu of the local police force. Currently, MITPolice are deputized in Middlesex County, which includes Cambridge.
As a result, MITPolice can make arrests and conduct investigations on areas near the MITcampus, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. However, department rules require that Cambridge Police be called when MITPolice respond to near-campus incidents.
In July, a Boston University police cruiser passing by Beta Theta Pi was pelted by full beer cans and bottles, according to police reports. Subsequently a BUpolice officer was severely injured when bottles thrown at him punctured a disc in his neck.
At the licensing board hearing on the incident last week, BUofficials stated that they were frustrated with policing MITfraternities near their campus.
The board then requested that MITinvestigate the potential of gaining deputy privileges for MITPolice within Suffolk County, and to report back to it on the status of obtaining the privileges by mid-September.
Police have different styles
The BUPolice and MITPolice have different strategies to crime prevention, Glavin said. "They are in a tougher area than we are. It does to some extent warrant a different policing style."
As a result, the MITPolice are more "tolerant of student antics"such as hacking, Glavin added.
Both departments are aggressive when dealing with members outside their respective communities, Glavin said. However, the BUpolice tend to "treat everyone the same way"instead of dealing with the community on a different level.
The BUPolice "are extremely angry at MITand extremely angry at MITFSILGs,"Glavin said. As a result, they are likely to report even minor incidents to the licensing board.
"I would prefer that they let us take care of our own business,"Glavin said, adding that BostonPolice and BUPolice have also had discussions about the borders between the two forces.
Although the MITPolice currently have no jurisdiction in Suffolk County, they plan to operate in a "high-visibility mode"during the next month. Cruisers and bicycle-based police will be in the area of Boston fraternities as part of their patrols, Glavin said.
Jurisdictions, cost are issues
Although deputizing police officers in Boston has been recommended by the licensing board, many potential problems have to be dealt with and it is uncertain whether the new deputy powers will actually be requested, Glavin said.
For example, details of who would respond to incidents at particular addresses will need to be coordinated with the BUPolice and Boston Police, Glavin said.
A different but equally important issue is dealing with"errant calls," or calls that go to the wrong police authority. "I obviously want to know that BUwould call us instead of responding"to problems at MITfraternities, Glavin said.
Other issues to be addressed include the expense of dramatically increasing the MITPolice presence in Boston. New equipment will have to be purchased and new officers trained to work in Boston, said Stephen D. Immerman, director of project development and temporary supervisor of the Campus Police.
BU officials yesterday declined comment on the potential Suffolk County deputization of MITPolice.
Earlier this month, BUVice President Richard Towle expressed the University's concern that MITwas not adequately supervising its fraternities. BUtalked to the MITadministration several times about previous incidences but BU has "never gotten a response," Towle said.