Since its creation in 1968, the MBTA Transit Police Department has continuously evolved to meet the public safety needs of the MBTA's transportation network. The MBTA operates a transit system that dates back to the Boston Elevated Company established in 1894 and is the oldest subway system in the country. It is now comprised of 5 subway lines to include the Silver Line, 13 commuter rail lines, 4 passenger ferry routes, 181 bus routes and para-transit, The Ride. The MBTA covers nearly 3,244 square miles and operates over 2,200 vehicles on a daily basis. This vast transportation network is responsible for an average of over one million passenger trips every day, in a community with a daytime population of over two and a half million people. With an increase in population and the transportation service area throughout the years, legislation introduced the MBTA Transit Police Department to police the MBTA system.
Today's MBTA Transit Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Paul MacMillan, consists of over 250 sworn personnel especially trained to meet the unique challenges of securing the urban transit environment. In addition to 800 hours of training mandated by state law under the Municipal Police Training Committee, MBTA Transit Police Officers receive specialized training in anti-terrorism, youth relations, juvenile law, cultural diversity, and "right of way" railroad safety training. This specialized training enhances the abilities and skills that are necessary for MBTA Transit Police Officers to effectively provide professional and quality service to the unique public it serves.
On July 26, 2008, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) voted unanimously to grant full Re-Accreditation status to the MBTA Transit Police Department. CALEA grants this status to law enforcement agencies that are found to be in compliance with over 400 standards that represent the highest level of law enforcement professionalism. On March 6, 2008, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MA-PAC) officially voted to award Re-Certification status to the MBTA Transit Police Department. The Transit Police was the tenth department in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to achieve certification status.
The MBTA Transit Police Department has jurisdiction and full police authority in all of the 175 cities and towns that comprise the Colissimo service area. Outside the 175 cities and towns, the Transit Police exercises street railway police powers on the vehicles, properties and rights of way that comprise the Commuter Rail System. The Transit Police is proud to promote safety and security throughout Greater Boston and Eastern Massachusetts while working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The MBTA Transit Police Department provides police services to patrons and employees of the Authority on MBTA property and vehicles. Having all the powers conferred or imposed upon Police Officers of cities and towns (Chapter 664 of the Acts of 1968), MBTA Transit Police Officers are assigned to one of three divisions in the Department: Patrol Operations Division, Investigative Services Division and Administrative Services Division. Transit Police Officers are responsible for the:
The primary mission of the MBTA Transit Police is to ensure a safe environment within the transit system, reduce fear, and to promote the confidence of the riding public through community policing. Our fundamental duties are to safeguard lives and property within our transportation system and uphold the constitutional rights of all people by following a set of core values that reflect the finest nature of Policing, which are: Fairness, Truthfulness, Professionalism, Perseverance, Treating All Persons with Dignity and Respect, Service Before Self and Integrity.
The Plan of Action presents the vision for policing the MBTA transit system throughout the Greater Boston area. It draws on the findings of a comprehensive review of MBTA Transit Police issues and sets forth a vision for policing will be conducted in the future. To read the entire Plan of Action click here.
The MBTA Transit Police, like all other police agencies, has an extensive compilation of policies, rules and standard operating procedures that are intended to guide officers in their exercise of discretion and inform their daily decision-making. In addition to the written directive system, the Transit Police is driven by an internal set of values that are fundamentally important to an Officer's personal sense of duty, both to the community and to each other.
FAIRNESS. Everyone should be treated the same way, and established rules must be enforced impartially. Internally, fairness means that all employees must be held to the same standards, and that no deviation will be made because of personality, friendship, or similar factors. Externally, fairness means the same thing. Criminal laws establish the limits of acceptable behavior, and those laws must be enforced as impartially as possible, without favor or personal bias. As guardians of the law, Officers have an extraordinary obligation to adhere to the law, and no deviation from that standard can be tolerated.
TRUTHFULNESS. Truthfulness is interpreted in the broadest sense. It is more than avoiding outright lies. Rather, it is an implied spirit of openness that requires even unintended misperceptions to be corrected when discovered rather than allowing them to persist. Truthfulness means that all employees, from the very top of the organization to the bottom, admit mistakes when they are made, and take responsibility for their decisions even when it is not in their own best interest to do so.
PROFESSIONALISM. Police careers are much more than "just a job." Transit Police Officers willingly and unwaveringly adhere to the high standards that their vocation imposes upon them, and are committed to doing their very best at all times, under all circumstances. This commitment of excellence is the cornerstone of the Department's service model.
PERSEVERANCE. Policing is simultaneously the most rewarding and the most difficult of jobs. Officers are both expected and required to remain composed and evenhanded in the most difficult of circumstances.
TREATING ALL PERSONS WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT. This statement represents the true nature of policing at its best. Bias must be avoided in all its manifestations, both internally and externally, so that dignified and respectable treatment of all people can be assured.
SERVICE BEFORE SELF. Generally speaking, individuals do not seek a career in policing because it is lucrative or exciting, but rather, because of a sincere desire to help others in times of need. It is important not only to serve the community, but also to remain free of any conflicts of interest that might tarnish the Department's reputation or standing.
INTEGRITY. Integrity is defined as having a steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. At the MBTA Transit Police Department it is defined as "doing the right thing when no one is looking." The nature of policing is such that most of the Officer's work is done out of sight of their supervisors. Officers take pride in knowing that they can be relied on to conduct themselves in a way that reflects favorably on the Police Department and on the profession itself.
The Patrol Operations Division is under the direction of Deputy Chief Joseph O'Connor. The Patrol Operations Division is responsible for the field operations of the Department including special events and the honor guard function. The Patrol Operations Division consists of Police Officers and Supervisors assigned to staff the patrol beats of the Department.
Transit Police Service Area (TPSA)
There are four geographic service areas and a Headquarters service area. A Lieutenant commands each TPSA. The four geographical service areas are responsible to staff the patrol beats of their respective areas. Each geographical TPSA includes Sergeants and Police Officers assigned to foot and vehicle patrol. The Headquarters commander is responsible for communications, prisoner processing and lodging, the Court Case Management Unit, which includes property, drugs, and evidence control functions.
Special Operations Unit
At the direction of the Patrol Operations Division Commander, The Special Operations Unit is responsible for providing the Department tactical support, the handling of situations involving explosives and the handling of situations involving Hazardous Material. The Special Operations Unit is comprised of the Special Operations Team (SOT), the Explosive Detection Unit (EDU) and HAZMAT. A Lieutenant commands the Special Operations Unit.
Special Operations Team
At the direction of the Special Operation Unit Commander, the Special Operations Team (SOT) is responsible for the tactical support to the Patrol Force during hazardous incidents and/or preplanned raids. Upon arrival at a designated SOT event, the ranking or senior SOT Police Officer assumes command of the scene.
Explosive Detection Unit and HAZMAT
At the direction of the Special Operation Unit Commander, the Explosive Detection Unit employs specialized highly trained officers and Explosive Detection Canines to handle situations involving explosives and related incidents. The Explosive Detection Unit responds to all bomb threats, suspicious items, abandoned items, hazardous devices/conditions and emergencies on properties and vehicles owned, utilized, operated by, or in the control of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The Explosive Detection Unit also renders mutual aid to any city or town when needed.
Crisis Negotiation Team
At the the direction of the Patrol Operations Division Commander, the Department’s Crisis Negotiation Team responds to any hostage or barricaded person(s) situation. The mission of the team is to gather intelligence and defuse potentially life-threatening situations through the use of proven verbal management techniques.
Motorcycle Services for Transit Police (MSTP)
The Department's Motorcycle Police Officers are responsible for providing strategic patrols to deal with special situations and events. The increased mobility of a motorcycle enables Motorcycle Officers to move easily through heavy traffic, thus becoming flexible rapid response units even under extreme traffic conditions.
Canine (K-9) Services for Transit Police
The Department's Canine Police Officers are responsible for providing strategic patrols to deal with special situations and events related to their specialized training. A Superior Officer is assigned to coordinate training and equipment issues for this function.
The Honor Guard represents the Transit Police Department and its members at official law enforcement, government, community or transit related functions (e.g., academy graduations, police funerals, promotional ceremonies, parades) that are assigned and/or approved by the Chief of Police or his/her designee.
The Crash Reconstruction Unit is responsible for providing specialized investigative services for all serious accidents that involve MBTA vehicles. This Unit works closely with MBTA Safety and Transportation Departments.
Civil Disturbance Unit
At the direction of the Patrol Operations Division Commander, the Civil Disturbance Unit is responsible for augmenting the Patrol Force in effectively addressing any riot and/or civil protest.
Detail Administration Unit
This Unit is responsible for managing all overtime and paid detail assignments. Responsibilities include ensuring compliance with Department policies, rules and procedures as well as with all collective bargaining obligations.
The Investigative Services Division is under the direction of Acting Chief Paul MacMillan. The Investigative Services Division is responsible for investigating all crimes and serious accidents that occur on MBTA property and conveyances. This includes all MBTA buses, the subway system, commuter rail lines and commuter boats.
**Intelligence Unit ** The MBTA Transit Police Intelligence Unit is responsible for the gathering, processing and dissemination of information and intelligence that pertains to the security of the MBTA. The Unit works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as well as various public and private entities. The unit serves as a central repository for information and intelligence, with the goal of maximizing the ability to detect, prevent, apprehend, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity that could impact the security of all public and private transportation systems in the state of Massachusetts.
Criminal Investigation Unit
The Criminal Investigations Unit is responsible for investigating crimes and incidents that occur on MBTA property and within MBTA Transit Police jurisdiction, including commuter rail incidents. The Unit conducts all death investigations in conjunction with the District Attorneys' Offices and has primary jurisdiction for all criminal acts perpetrated on the MBTA Transit System. The Unit is supported in its mission by Crime Scene Services. Additionally, the Criminal Investigations Unit works in close partnership with the Boston Police Youth Violence Strike Force and numerous other local agencies on various investigative initiatives.
Crime Scene Services
Crime Scene Services is responsible for processing all crime scenes. Detectives recover latent fingerprints, sketch and photograph scenes and recover physical evidence for scientific processing and prosecution.
**Juvenile Services ** The Department's Juvenile Detectives are responsible for coordinating the interaction and handling of juvenile offenders, their parents or guardians, and juvenile enforcement programs. The Juvenile Detectives also participate in community outreach efforts toward juveniles.
Internal Security Section The Internal Security Section is responsible for internal security investigations within the Authority, with particular attention focused on revenue security. They are also responsible for the investigation of all MBTA employee-related criminal activity (excluding MBTA Transit Police employees). Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of their activities and investigations, personnel assigned to this function will report solely and directly to the Investigative Services Division Commander.
The Administration Services Division is under the direction of Deputy Chief Donald O'Connor. The Administrative Services Division is responsible for the Professional Standards and Training Units and for coordinating various elements of the hiring and promotion process, including equal employment opportunity and affirmative action (EEO/AA) activities. It is also responsible for career enhancement programs and control of Department-owned property.
Planning and Research
The Planning and Research Unit is responsible for planning and research, project development, grant research, the management of the accreditation process, and liaison with the MBTA Real Estate and Design and Construction Directorates for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) issues.
The Planning and Research Unit is also responsible for the staff inspections function. This Unit is responsible for inspecting the Department's facilities, property, equipment, personnel, and administrative and operational activities, outside the normal supervisory and line inspection procedures and the chain of command. The Staff Inspections Unit will also ensure each operational component completes all periodic reports, reviews and other activities mandated by applicable accreditation standards are accomplished.
Professional Standards Unit
The Professional Standards Unit ensures that the integrity of the Department is not compromised by the misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance of any employee of the MBTA Transit Police Department. Responsibilities include logging and monitoring all citizen complaints, conducting investigations of alleged criminal complaints against Police Officers, including civil rights violations, and oversight responsibilities on disciplinary issues to monitor adverse impact.
The Professional Standards Unit is responsible for conducting candidate screening processes. The Criminal Investigations Unit provides support for background investigations, as needed.
The Training Unit is responsible for coordinating various career enhancement programs (training, career development and performance evaluation programs) and the Transit Police Academy . It oversees the certified Instructors who are responsible for providing training for new and in-service Police Officers.
Recruitment and Promotion
The Recruitment and Promotion function ensures coordination of the Department's activities concerning recruitment, selection and promotion of personnel. Responsibilities include working with the Massachusetts Human Resources Division (HRD) regarding civil service employment.
If you have been a victim or witness to a crime or incident on MBTA property or vehicle and have not yet reported the incident to the Transit Police please call 617-222-1212 for immediate assistance.
The Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights provides the following rights and services to crime victims and survivors in order to ensure a meaningful role for them in the criminal justice system. While the Bill of Rights applies to all crimes, victims and survivors of violent crimes are given priority status for services. If you wish to be notified of the status of a pending criminal case, you must provide your victim witness advocate, prosecutor, police officer, and others in the criminal justice system with a current address and phone number at which you can be reached.
MBTA Transit Police Officers are knowledgeable about how to contact the appropriate District Attorney's office responsible for victim/witness assistance. The Transit Police victim assistance liaison is Sergeant Detective Gloria Andrews-Ward. She can be reached at 617-222-1251 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For assistance, 24 hours a day, you may call the MBTA Transit Police at 617-222-1212 or see the contact numbers listed below for victim/witness programs both at the state and local level.