Every morning, Suffolk County probation officers check their inboxes for a “BRIC,” a Boston Regional Intelligence Center email detailing the Boston Police’s most-wanted suspects. That’s how Probation Officers at BMC’s Central and Roxbury Divisions caught two sex offenders last month.
Case 1: When BMC Central Probation Officer Heather Whynot read her daily BRIC, she noticed someone who looked familiar. She consulted with fellow Probation Officer Gordon D’Ambrosio, who confirmed that the suspect, who is currently being supervised on a pre-trial matter for indecent assault and battery, was wanted for identification by the Boston Police after he allegedly exposed himself in front of a child and other witnesses in the women’s section of an upscale clothing store. Officer Whynot called District 4 Boston Police Detective McGill, who requested a magistrate’s hearing.
The suspect was identified from a still image taken from a video provided by the store’s loss prevention department. The BPD Bulletin featured the image as part of a “Be On the Look Out” or BOLO report. When Officers Whynot and D’Ambrosio saw the BOLO, one of the officers recognized the suspect, and the other realized who it was when he came into the department to meet with his probation officer. The suspect’s photo was later included in a photo array and was identified by witnesses. The suspect was arrested, released, and has a pending magistrate’s hearing.
“We supervise many of these suspects or have supervised them in the past and we are familiar with them,” said BMC Central Chief Probation Officer John Turner. “We help police identify suspects, not just in Boston, but in surrounding communities and for the Transit Police.”
Case 2: During the same week in February, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Chris Gillis of the BMC Roxbury Division immediately recognized another suspect featured in a BRIC report who was wanted by Boston Police for two counts of aggravated rape. The man, a level 3 sex offender, had a long prison record, and Officer Gillis had supervised him in the past.
ACPO Gillis also knew that the suspect was on probation at BMC Central for failure to register as a sex offender. He contacted the Sexual Assault Detective with information on the suspect. The victim was shown a photo array and she identified the suspect as her attacker. The Roxbury Court issued a warrant.
Knowing that the suspect’s last address was at a homeless shelter in Roxbury, Officer Gillis contacted BMC Central Assistant Chief Probation Officer Brad McNichols, who obtained a probation warrant based on the new offense. Officer McNichols also notified Boston Police of the active warrant. The police tried searching for the suspect and came up empty-handed - but not for long.
A week later, the suspect came to BMC Central for his Probation check-in. Officer McNichols spotted him and called the police. He stalled for time, keeping the probationer at the counter until detectives arrived to make the arrest. The man has since been charged with the new offense and is currently held on bail.
“When I saw the picture, I recognized him right away and reached out to the detective,” said Officer Gillis, who added that the suspect was wearing the same hat as in the BOLO when he came to the courthouse. “This was a collaborative effort between BMC Central and BMC Roxbury. We remained in constant communication until the defendant was taken into custody.”
“This is a great example of collaboration within the service and with our law enforcement partners all united by the common goal of protecting the community,” said Probation Commissioner Edward Dolan.
“Good things happen when we work together,” said Chief Turner. “Outside of the courtroom, probation officers often serve as the eyes and ears of the judges. Public safety is our number one priority, which is why we have a true partnership with law enforcement.”