The fallout continues from Suffolk DA Dan Conley’s ham-handed power-grab in which he displaces Boston police detectives in favor of the State Police for homicides occurring on MBTA property and a few other places.
Perhaps the most embarrassing nugget in today’s coverage is this:
The state police commander said he was not “involved nor consulted” by Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley about his controversial move to put troopers in charge of homicide cases on the MBTA, a claim that comes on the same day that a police union head called on the DA to resign.
Col. Mark Delaney, who is in charge of state troopers, said in a statement that he did not discuss Conley’s plan to replace BPD homicide detectives with state police in murder investigations on T property.
“The state police were not involved nor consulted in the recent decision by the Suffolk County District Attorney,” Delaney said. “I have the utmost respect for the abilities of (BPD) Commissioner (Edward) Davis and the men and women of the Boston Police Department.”
Oh, that’s great. Conley’s putting the staties in charge of investigating a bunch of new stuff, and he didn’t even ask them first. What on God’s green earth could he have been thinking?
Commissioner Davis, of course, is against Conley’s move. Former Suffolk DA Ralph Martin has come out against it too. So has Mayor Menino, who is out of the country at the moment. So far, then, the only person who thinks Conley’s move is a good one appears to be Conley himself. Not a good sign, Dan.
But what’s more profoundly concerning about this situation is what it reveals about Conley’s mentality when it comes to how best to do his job: he really may not get it. Here’s what he said in defense of his move:
“I think a bright jurisdictional line makes sense around state property,” he said.
Now compare that “analysis” with what Rev. Jeff Brown, who’s actually out there trying to do something about street violence, said:
The Rev. Jeff Brown, who helped broker a truce between rival gang members last year, said many homicides in the city, including ones on trains and buses, are connected and homicide investigators with gang knowledge are critical to solving them.
“When you have a homicide in Boston, you want to have a detective who is on the streets, who knows the players. You don’t need to have someone come in from Leominister or Route 2 and try to solve a Boston case. It’s ridiculous,” Brown said. “If I could get a message to Dan (Conley), I would say that we can’t afford this kind of public fight right now.”
How can Brown possibly not be right? Of course the homicides and other crimes that happen to occur on the T are connected to violence elsewhere in the city. Criminals don’t respect “bright jurisdictional lines” that are scratched out somewhere in dusty law books that weirdly give the Suffolk DA authority over homicides but not other crimes in Boston.
Conley should quickly back off this silly move, de-escalate the turf war, and do his job. If he won’t, Governor Patrick and the legislature should move to strip the Suffolk DA of his statutory authority to oversee homicide investigations in Boston and put it where it belongs: with the Boston police.