FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 4, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently hosted a group of Boston Police Department captains at the Suffolk County House of Correction for a meeting to discuss the establishment of a central lockup for Suffolk County.
The visit was part of Sheriff Tompkins’ ongoing efforts to engage members of local law enforcement agencies, and other interested parties, in the discussion of siting a central lockup in Suffolk County – potentially on the grounds of the House of Correction.
A central lockup or, in layman’s terms, a “city–wide jail,” would allow local police officers who operate within the jurisdiction of the facility to arrest suspects and bring them in for booking and holding by the facility’s staff, who would then assume responsibility for that detainee.
The arresting officers, now free from having to hold detainees, would be able to return directly to their work on the streets in a much shorter amount of time. This would serve to keep the maximum number of available police officers on the streets and in the neighborhoods as opposed to keeping them inside their stationhouses completing paperwork and supervising detainees.
Because of its extensive experience and training in the care, custody and control of detainees – as well as its ability to accommodate a greater number of detainees – having the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department staff a regional/central lockup facility offers a commonsense alternative for law enforcement officers that promotes greater public safety by allowing police officers to stay on the beat and in the community.
This past April, Boston Police Superintendent of Field Services Bernard O’Rourke gave testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary about the need to establish a regional lockup facility in Suffolk County.
In a quote reported by the State House News Service, Supt. O’Rourke said, "We do our best work when officers are out on the street and interacting with our residents." O’Rourke also stated that the current system, where officers take responsibility for individuals under arrest, including guarding them at hospitals during medical incidents, is "ineffective and inefficient."
Sheriff Tompkins, who was previously involved in the discussion to site a central lockup in Suffolk County for the past several years during his predecessor’s administration, is carrying forth the effort with support from numerous law enforcement agencies in and around Suffolk County.
“Our mandate is for the care and custody of inmates and detainees in Suffolk County, but we are also committed to improving public safety and security in whatever ways that we can,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “Having a central lockup would mean more officers on the street to patrol our neighborhoods while detainees are securely held by a custody staff that is professionally trained in that role. We are very good at what we do, and a central lockup would ensure that local law enforcement agencies would be free to do what they’re best at.”