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|March 20, 2008
Director of Communications
COUNTY PROBATION OFFICERS ASSIST POLICE WITH
MAINTAINING ORDER AT TROUBLED NIGHTSPOT
A group of Suffolk County Probation Officers
have turned out for the past two weekends at the Aria
Nightclub on Tremont Street to help Boston Police Officers
from the Area A-1 precinct to keep the peace and identify
court-involved individuals. The Theatre District nightclub
was the scene of a recent shooting and alleged gang-fueled
Dressed in jackets with the words "Probation" emblazoned
on the back, 16 Probation Officers have been maintaining
a presence outside of the club the past two Saturday
nights. They have also joined the police in patrolling
a 10-block radius of the club in Area A-1 which includes
the Theater District, Downtown Crossing, Chinatown, Back
Bay, the West End, North End, and Charlestown.
On a recent Saturday, Probation Officers
identified an individual who had a pending case at Boston
Municipal Court (BMC)-Dorchester. He was found to have
drugs in his possession and was taken into custody by
Mark McHale, Suffolk County Regional Supervisor
for the Massachusetts Probation Service, said the police/probation
initiative was established to stop the gang activity
and drug dealing that allegedly occurred outside of the
nightspot. McHale said the Probation Officers discovered
right away that the individuals involved in the activity
were known to the courts and some were on probation in
the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) divisions. The 16 Probation
Officers involved in the initiative are from Boston Municipal
Court (BMC)-Dorchester; BMC-Central; BMC-West Roxbury;
BMC-Roxbury; and Suffolk County Juvenile courts.
"The police officers who work in Area A-1
did not know the faces and were not familiar with their
names. The Probation Officers were familiar with them
and able to identify them. When Probation Officers are
present, it is more of a deterrent," McHale said.
Area A-1 Police Lieutenant Sean Feeney
said the alliance between Probation and Police has been
"This joint venture we have deployed has
been very fruitful. It is a very effective tool for us.
I would like to continue this effort. I have nothing
but the highest praise for Probation," said Feeney. "When
the P.O.'s come out with their jackets with the word
Probation, they get the attention of these young people."
BMC-Dorchester First Assistant Chief Probation
Officer Anthony Gully said of the effort, "We are ensuring
the safety of the patrons. We are able to help identify
many of the people in the crowds outside of the club.";
By maintaining a presence outside of the
club, Gully said, Probation Officers have spotted a number
of Youthful Offenders, high-risk probationers who are
17-25 years old. Gully said there are 990 active Youthful
Offender cases in BMC-Dorchester Court.
Of that number, 120 have court-imposed curfews.
"Before they saw us outside of the nightclub
and in the Theater District, they thought ‘I can
go out. A Probation Officer is not going to check on
me at 2 a.m. in the morning. They thought they could
skirt their curfew,” Gully said.
“This gives us a whole new dimension.
This will stop young people from acting out,” he
BMC-Roxbury Probation Officer Kevin Lyles
said participating in this initiative is not only beneficial
for the Area A-1 Police, it has also aided Probation
in keeping tabs on offenders.
“It is very important to see probationers
outside of the court, their homes, and communities. For
some in the Youthful Offender group, the Theater District
and downtown areas are an open market for selling drugs
in the wee hours of the morning,” Lyles said. “If
individuals are in violation, they will be surrendered
and held accountable.”
BMC-West Roxbury Probation Officer Brad
McNichols said while maintaining a presence, he has also
identified offenders from his court.
“I am seeing more and more youth
from our jurisdiction because they are facing heat in
our area,” McNichols said. “But we are there
(nightspot) at night when the clubs close and it has
been very effective.
The Probation Officers who have participated
in this initiative include: John Izzo, Jim Griffiin,
and First Assistant Chief Probation Officer Thomas Lally
from BMC-Central; Chris Connolly, Chris Gillis, Paul
Shaughnessy, and Kevin Lyles from BMC-Roxbury; Thomas
Todd, Matt McDonough, Assistant Chief Probation Officer
William Steward, and First Assistant Chief Probation
Officer Gully from BMC-Dorchester; and McNichols from
Also participating in the initiative are
Suffolk County Juvenile Probation Officers Lisa Butler
and Ron Whitehead as well as Suffolk County Superior
Court Probation Officer Brendan McClennan.