|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|September 7, 2006
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
IMPACT" GETS HIGH-RISK OFFENDERS
OFF THE STREETS
4 Sargeant Wayne Lanchester, at wheel, responds to
Officer Timothy Norris explains reason for arrest
Police and Probation Officers meet at District 4
for strategy meeting where they share intelligence information
such as an offenders' social and criminal history.
Police Officer and John Turner, Suffolk County Juvenile
Assistant Chief Probation Officer.
Turner and police talk to youth.
Suffolk County Probation Officers teamed
up with Boston Police from District 4 recently to track
down and apprehend probationers with known gang affiliations
in the South End/Lower Roxbury area. This warrant apprehension
team, which has been in place for the past decade, is known
as Operation IMPACT.
In less than two hours on a warm Friday night,
members of the team located and apprehended four of the
20 high-risk probationers also referred to as “High
Impact” players by the Boston Police Department.
On a typical night, probation officers and police apprehend
at least five offenders featured on the list, according
to Boston Municipal Court Probation Officer Timothy Norris.
During these warrant sweeps, probation officers and police
fan out across District 4, an area which extends from the
Back Bay to the Fenway area and includes the South End
and Lower Roxbury.
“They (offenders) are not happy when
they are picked up on the weekend. It means that they are
generally held (incarcerated) until Monday,” Norris
“By taking them off the street tonight,
we prevent a kid from being killed or stop them from victimizing
someone else,” added District 4 Police Sergeant Wayne
Lanchester added, “Probation has more
power out here on the streets than police. It is simple.
They don’t want to make their probation officers
angry because they know they will see them in court where
the P.O. can send them to jail on their recommendation
to the judge.
”The team, a group of police and probation
officers, meet on a weekly basis to develop strategies
to combat crime and to share intelligence information on
the whereabouts and comings and goings of at-risk young
men who are on probation.
Before setting out on a warrant sweep recently,
probation officers and police meet in a conference room
at District 4, located on Harrison Avenue in Boston’s
South End, where they reviewed background information and
mugshots of the individuals they hoped to get off the streets.
The information also included the details of shootings,
witness statements, and the identities of victims. Most
of the offenders featured on the list are warrant violators.
Probation and police officers also do home visits and curfew
checks during Operation Impact.
The IMPACT team loaded into four unmarked
police vehicles: two police officers and one probation
officer in each car. Norris sat in the front seat and provided
information to Lanchester. He read the plate numbers of
cars driven by individuals he recognized as probationers
and called off information provided on the warrant sheets.
Norris scanned the faces of young men as
Lanchester drove. Suddenly, Norris spots a man on a bicycle
who matches the description of a probationer. He informs
Lanchester who then begins to follow the man. The man,
aware that he was being trailed, quickly disappears down
an alley. The second police officer in the car, Sean McCarthy,
jumps out of the car to pursue the man on foot. Lanchester
drives the police car around the corner and finds the man
on the bike has emerged but it turns out to be the wrong
person, not someone featured on the list of warrant violators.
Lanchester radios Officer McCarthy who is
several streets over and swings around to pick the officer
up. Several seconds later, Lanchester and Norris receive
a communication via police radio that the other team members
have apprehended a young man with known gang affiliations.
“We know who is feuding with who,” said
Lanchester. “District 4 has some interesting dynamics.
There are high-priced restaurants and shops and streets
where there are gangs. However, there are a finite number
of bad kids. The rest are good kids. We are trying to develop
good relationships with the bad kids and maintain a good
relationship with the good kids.”
Norris and Lanchester explained that the
major source of friction is between young men who live
in the five housing developments in the area. The youngsters,
both agree, are embroiled in a turf battle.
“These guys hate these guys and these
guys hate these guys. The kids will tell you that they
are sick of the violence. Even the toughest, hardest kids
are sick of it,” Lanchester said.
“The more eyes watching the better,” Norris
said. “The key to us being out here is to identify
the constant problems in the community. It goes back to
Probation’s three-pronged approach: “Presence,
Partnership, and Prevention.”
Norris and Lanchester continued to drive
through the neighborhood looking for the offenders featured
on the list. A woman sitting in a chair in front of a community
center smiled and waved at Norris. She is the mother of
one of his probationers, Norris explained. The unmarked
cruiser passed a group of young men hanging out on the
stoop in front of an apartment house. One of the men turned
from the group and waved when he recognized Norris.
Sgt. Lanchester turned onto Tremont Street
and headed south toward lower Roxbury, passing upscale
restaurants and boutiques. A woman walked by talking animatedly
on her cell phone. On one corner, a group of four teenage
boys all dressed in oversized white tee shirts, sat on
a utility box eyeing the police car. Norris recognized
one of his probationers standing in front of a hair salon
further down the block. It was a man who had an outstanding
warrant and who has a history of substance abuse offenses.
The police approached the man and handcuffed him as Norris
explained to him that he was being taken into custody because
of an outstanding probation warrant.
The team returned to the District 4 Police
Station for booking. Shortly after, a report came over
the police radio that Probation Officer Kevin McClerklin
of Suffolk County Juvenile Court, who was in the second
police car still traversing the neighborhood, had spotted
another probationer. The labored breathing and sounds of
the police officer’s feet hitting the pavement were
heard over the police radio as they chased the suspect
John Turner, Assistant Chief Probation Officer
at Suffolk County Juvenile Court, Sgt. Lanchester and Police
Officer McCarthy jump into the car and with Sgt. Lanchester
at the wheel drive out of the Police Department parking
lot, rounds the corner, and races down the street with
sirens blaring. The cruiser turned onto a narrow street.
The team finds a group of adults and children on bikes
congregating near a clearly marked Boston Police cruiser
as the offender was handcuffed and placed into the backseat
and brought back to central booking at District 4.
Turner spotted a young man on probation in
the crowd and stopped to check in with him about his progress.
He then hopped in the police cruiser with Lanchester and
McCarthy and headed back to Tremont Street to do a home
The probation and police officers enter the
apartment building and crowd onto a tiny, dilapidated elevator
operated by an elderly gentleman. They get off on the 4th
floor to visit a juvenile living with his grandmother.
When they knock on the older woman’s door, they assure
the worried senior citizen that they are not there to arrest
anyone but to do a curfew check on her grandson. They find
the grandson in the bedroom with another probationer who
is on probation out of Superior Court. Turner makes a note
to call the young man into his office on Monday.
“A lot of young guys are drawn to the
gang life. Probation gives them an out. Having P.O’s
in the community is a huge deterrent. They can tell their
buddies there’s my P.O. I have to go. I have a curfew,” Turner
said. “We’re also a back-up for the parents.”
The probation and police officers broke for
dinner and later resumed their detail. By the end of the
night, they have located and apprehended six offenders.