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Boston Police Department

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The Boston Police Department (BPD) is the primary law enforcement agency of the Massachusetts City of Boston and is one of the oldest municipal police departments in the United States, coming in third after Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia and Virginia’s Richmond. The BPD also ranks 20th among the largest of the country’s law enforcement agencies.

The Boston Police Department is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, on 1 Schroeder Plaza and boasts an operations jurisdiction that spreads throughout the entire State of Massachusetts, while the legal jurisdiction covers the city of Boston.

According to the official website of the City of Boston, the BPD’s mission is simply neighborhood policing, through the dedication of themselves to working in partnership with the community to fight crime, reduce fear and improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods they serve.

The Boston Police Department’s legal jurisdiction covers a total of 89.6 square miles in area, servicing a population of nearly 620 000 residents.

The BPD is headed by Edward F. Davis III, who was appointed as the Commissioner in October 2006 by Mayor Thomas Menino. Davis’ appointment as Commissioner of the Boston Police Department made history in that this was only the second time ever that a Boston Police Commissioner was roped in from beyond the staff already serving within the ranks of the Boston Police Department.

Commissioner Edward Davis’ experience in the law enforcement field was accumulated during his tenure at the Lowell Police Department, where he served for a period of 28 years, from 1978 to 2006.

Back in his Lowell Police Department days, Commissioner Davis started out as a beat cop and moved on to become a Detective (1982 to 1984). A promotion to Sergeant subsequently came and had him serve in that role from 1984 to 1986, with a promotion to Detective Lieutenant after that two-year stint as Detective Sergeant. In 1992 Davis was promoted to Captain of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit, until he amassed the highest ranking police officer position of Superintendent of Police, in 1994, a position he held until moving over to serve as the Commissioner of the Boston Police Department (11 October, 2006).

Commissioner Edward Davis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, which he acquired from the Southern New Hampshire University as well as a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice, which he attained from Anna Maria College in 1990.

The Boston Police Department serves the following districts:

  • Downtown/Charlestown
  • East Boston
  • Roxbury/Mission Hill
  • Mattapan/North Dorchester
  • South Boston
  • Dorchester
  • Back Bay/South End/Fenway
  • Allston/Brighton
  • West Roxbury/Roslindale
  • Jamaica Plain
  • Hyde Park

The BPD is comprised out of the following divisions:

1. The Crime Lab Unit, which is part of the Forensic Technology Division

2. The Family Justice Division, which is made up of the Crimes Against Children Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, Sexual Assault Unit and the Human Trafficking Unit

3. The Bureau of Public Information, which is part of the Office of the Police Commissioner

4. Internal Affairs

5. Harbor Patrol

6. The Rescue/Recovery Unit, which is comprised out of a 22-man Dive Team

7. The Hackney Carriage Unit

8. The Special Operations Unit

Under Commissioner Edward F. Davis, the Boston Police Department employs 2, 144 Police Officers and 569 Civilians, with facilities that include Ford Expedition and Ford F250 patrol vehicles, the Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor, Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Caprice PPV as patrol cars as well as 21 K-9’s.

Following his impressive performance statistics at the Lowell Police Department (fastest reduction of the crime rate in an American city with more than 100, 000 residents), Commissioner Davis replicated similar success at the Boston Police Department, reducing serious crime by 18% and shootings by 40%, in the first three years of his tenure.

The Boston Police Department’s pre-history dates back to 1635, which was a period of operation before the formal police department came into existence in 1838. With its first headquarters located at the School Street City Hall, The Boston Police Department was the first professionalized public safety department in the United States, operationally modelled on the London Police force.

The BDP has grown and evolved in a number of different ways since it first came into existence, with a move to the current state-of-the-art headquarters at One Schroder Plaza having been facilitated in 1997.

As it stands today, the BDP has its main focus on catering to the safety and well-being of the residents of the City of Boston, combining the best in neighborhood policing methods from times gone by with the latest technologies to effectively protect and serve the public.

Some of the technologically advanced equipment contained in the Boston Police Department headquarters includes:

  • Probably the most advanced ballistics and ID-imaging system in the country
  • One of only 18 DNA laboratories in country-wide departments (with on-site DNA testing capabilities)
  • Computer-aided Dispatch and 9-1-1 system (with Mobile Date Linkage Terminals)

Boston Police Officer salaries average at 18% above the average salaries of Police Officers in other departments nationwide, at $55,590.

A degree qualification is not necessary as a requirement to become a BPD Police Officer, although it does help in the preparation of a potentially very rewarding law enforcement career.

The minimum training and education standards, for potential enrollment into the Police Academy serving the BPD, are set by the Municipal Police Training Committee of Massachusetts, after which process the following post minimum qualification standards should be met:

  • Applicant must be a citizen of the United States
  • Applicant must have a high school diploma or GED
  • Valid Massachusetts driver’s license
  • Applicant must have the ability to obtain a Massachusetts firearms license
  • 21 years or older
  • Entrance test must be passed
  • Completion of a complete background check
  • Applicant must pass a physical fitness test
  • Applicant must undergo a medical evaluation
  • Applicant must pass a psychological examination

The civil service examination can be taken once every two years and the department also hires interns for temporary employment, to fill various positions within the force, in addition to becoming a cadet as well.



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