Police Squads Work Together


Four students were found smashing a parking meter on the corner of Bow and Plympton streets at 3:24 a.m. two Fridays ago.

Although both Harvard University and Cambridge police officers were on the scene, it was Cambridge police who made the arrest.

"We could have made the arrest," Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) Chief Francis D. "Bud" Riley said. "But we left it to the CPD [Cambridge Police Department]."

The episode offered a glimpse into the type of relationship HUPD shares with its fellow police departments, including CPD, the Boston Police Department (BPD) and the Massachusetts State Police.

It is a relationship police officers from all forces hail as overlapping but non-intrusive. While there were some jurisdictional quarrels in years past, the relationship among the departments today is amiable.


They get along despite a complex and confusing set of jurisdictional guidelines that would seem to offer ample opportunity for a battle over egos and space.

But officers with HUPD insist that one thing remains simple: the safety of the student body is the No. 1 priority.

Overlapping Powers

Riley said that under Code 22c of Section 63 of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Statute Law, HUPD officers have the same powers as all other police officers.

These powers include the ability to arrest offenders in Suffolk and Middlesex counties, which includes Cambridge and its surrounding environs, HUPD spokesperson Peggy A. McNamara said.

HUPD has primary response jurisdiction over all property owned by the University, and CPD has secondary response powers, she said.

This means that HUPD immediately responds to all campus incidents, and CPD usually responds shortly after, either at the behest of HUPD or in response to calls by observant Cantabrigians.

"CPD and HUPD both arrive on the scene, [and] then we work out the jurisdictional stuff afterwards," Riley said.

If it is strictly a Harvard matter, McNamara said, follow-up is usually contained to the HUPD because CPD defers to HUPD over matters involving Harvard affiliates or Harvard property.

One exception in the law involves the illegal parking of cars within 10 feet of a fire hydrant on Harvard property. In such cases, CPD spokesperson Frank T. Pasquerello said, CPD officers are allowed to "tow and give tickets on any property in Cambridge."

One example of a crime handled completely by the HUPD involved four Currier residents, who were arrested spring 1996 on drug-dealing charges, McNamara said.

But if the four had been dealing drugs off campus, Riley said, the HUPD would have had to alert CPD and the state police because it would involve jurisdiction beyond Harvard.

McNamara said the state police must be alerted in all cases involving sudden death, homicides or suicides.

The June 1995 Dunster murder-suicide case--in which Sinedu Tadesse '96 stabbed Trang P. Ho '96 and then hanged herself--began with a call to HUPD, in which the caller simply reported "a woman screaming in Dunster House," according to the 1995 HUPD police blotter.

But it grew into a collaborative effort between HUPD, CPD and the state police, McNamara said. Riley added that "rape or other major cases" are reported to other police departments as well, because there is the "potential [in rape cases] that the perpetrator was from the outside."

Riley said the state police is also responsible for incidents involving the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park on JFK Street or along Memorial Drive, because both are state properties.

Several weeks ago, HUPD officers caught up with a man in Quincy House courtyard who had reportedly stolen a purse along the Charles River. Because the incident occurred on the state-owned riverfront, state troopers had to report to Plympton Street before HUPD could take further action.

Lack of Tension

Riley said since he came on the job two years ago, the relationship between CPD and HUPD has been "very good."

"It's one of the best I've seen as far as cooperation goes," he said.

CPD's Pasquerello said HUPD and CPD have a close relationship because officers from the two departments meet every Wednesday morning to discuss important matters.

"We've had a pretty good rapport with them over the years, and I don't think it's going to change any," he said. "I don't think Harvard is trying to hide anything. Our only difference is in the style and color of [police] cars. Everybody's concern is public safety."

Pasquerello added that despite popular conception, "if a Harvard student is arrested just like a citizen, we don't treat them differently than anyone else."

An arrested student is booked and held in jail at CPD headquarters in Central Square until he or she is bailed, Riley said.

If students are arrested by HUPD, they are transported from the holding cell in HUPD headquarters along Garden Street to CPD headquarters in Central Square, after they have had their photographs and fingerprints taken.

Boston Police spokesperson Kevin D. Jones said his force also has good relations with other police departments, such as the HUPD.

"We work frequently with other police departments, [and] police departments cooperate very well with each other," he said.

Crackdown on Drinking

The recent highly-publicized death of MIT first-year Scott Krueger, who fell into a fatal coma after consuming alcohol at a fraternity, gave local police a reason to cooperate.

University officials, CPD and HUPD met last Wednesday to iron out a tougher drinking policy.

To curb underage drinking, Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 said in an interview with The Crimson last Friday that HUPD and CPD will enter final clubs and report the presence of any underage drinker to the College.

"We take alcohol arrests very seriously, and that won't change," Pasquerello said. "It's for the students' safety."

In a letter to the trustees of all the final clubs last week, Cambridge Police Commissioner Ronnie Watson wrote: "The CPD, Cambridge License Commission and Harvard University have agreed to stress to the students of the University the importance of taking responsibility for their actions while strongly encouraging responsible adults who can positively impact this concern to take an active role in eliminating under-age drinking."

In the upcoming weeks, Watson said University officials will distribute information to students "regarding the consequences of illegal use of alcohol."

He added that CPD, HUPD and Cambridge License Commission personnel will "actively monitor" establishments where alcohol is served.

Students who are intoxicated "will be dealt with on administrative levels within the University and/or on a criminal level should the situation warrant such action," Watson wrote. "Establishments which are identified as serving alcohol to these underage students will have administrative and/or criminal sanctions brought against them."

McNamara said the HUPD has the power to arrest undergraduates for underage drinking or for drunkenness in public.

However, Riley said he believes reporting such actions to a dean, which results in a record of the infraction in the student's College files, is deterrent enough.

"If I know you, I might let you go a little further," Riley said. "That's human nature. But am I going to let you break the law?

"If a student is underage and drinking, CPD and HUPD will bring it to the attention of the College," he said. "I think a note to the dean's office can be just as devastating."

Putting Students First

While HUPD officers are legally sanctioned as full-fledged cops, Riley said he prefers that his officers be known to students as friends rather than arresting officers.

Beginning this semester, police officers patrol regular beats instead of canvassing the entire campus, he said. The 80 guards and 59 police officers who comprise HUPD are assigned to patrol one of three areas: the River, the Quad or the Upper Quad.

According to Riley, this is so police officers can form cordial relations with undergraduates.

Riley said HUPD's image was tainted several years ago when some black students felt they were being singled out by campus cops for suspicion of crimes.

But Riley said the HUPD is slowly changing that image.

Since last spring, police officers have begun eating in undergraduate dining halls.

"They have IDs just like everyone else, [and] they can swipe it and interact with students," Riley said.

He added that a new HUPD sub-station has opened in Cabot House this fall and 15 police officers have begun patrolling the streets on bike, leading to a decrease in bicycle theft.

"They're faster, less intimidating and more visible," Riley said.

In an interview last Friday in his spacious HUPD office, Riley gleefully recounted an episode in which a Yard police officer knew the first-years so well that he could direct a couple of parents to their son's Matthews Hall room.

"Freshmen know they have officers they can talk to, [and] it decreases tension," he said.

Riley, who is from Lynn, Mass., said changes to make the HUPD more accessible to the community were in part spurred by input from his six children, many of whom are of college age.

Riley said one of his sons, who attends the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, helps him get his message across to a college audience.

"My son tells me how not to be a dork," Riley said.CrimsonDarryl C. LiON PATROL: KEVIN BRYANT is one of three HUPD officers assigned to first-year students and the Yard.