Suffolk County

METROLEC no longer supports Boston Police in planned events

BOSTON, Mass. — In recent years, Boston Police have had a lot of experience controlling massive crowds when things quickly change.

In many cases, BPD depends on its law enforcement partners for help.

But last year, the Boston City Council enacted an ordinance restricting police use of non lethal force, such as pepper spray and rubber bullets.

And now one of BPDs major law enforcement partners, METROLEC, is saying it can no longer send its officers to Boston to help with planned events.

“We just simply could not send our officers into that situation, it’s just a catch 22 frankly,” said current METROLEC President, Westwood Police Chief Jeffrey Silva.

METROLEC stands for Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council and it is made up of 48 Massachusetts police and sheriffs departments that pool their resources in times of emergency.

Boston is not a member of METROLEC, but BPD and METROLEC frequently share resources when requested.

Chief Silva tells me, METROLEC’s officers are well trained in the use of non lethal tactics.

But he says the rule change makes things impossible for METROLEC officers in Boston.

“These situations are dynamic. They change in an instant. And so officers need to have available to them, the various tools they need to deal with it. So, to come up with a bright line rule, saying officers can’t act in a certain way consistent with their training, consistent with their policy is very problematic for the officer, it’s something we can’t effectively manage,” Silva said.

Former Boston Police Chief Dan Linskey is concerned what all this means, for crowd control in Boston.

“This is scary that Boston is losing these resources that have been vital in keeping our community safe,” Linskey said. “If outside agencies have decided they are not going to send those trained, equipped resources, Boston is going to need to find them somewhere. Because it wasn’t like they were overkill. They were absolutely needed.”

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