The Dover Police Department is a member of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (“MetroLEC”), a non-profit organization led by the Chief Executive Officers of 45 law enforcement agencies and established for the purpose of promoting greater public safety by providing a working collaboration between law enforcement agencies that are located in Boston’s southeast/west region.
MetroLEC member agencies recognize and acknowledge that certain critical incidents call for a law enforcement response that may exceed the capability of any one single local agency, both in terms of capacity and/or duration, and rely on this premise to guide the organization’s efforts. To resolve this need and augment local capacity to prepare for and respond to acts of disorder, crime, and violence, MetroLEC has formed a regional partnership that cooperatively shares local resources and enhances the collective capabilities of its members. MetroLEC is an operational entity and non-profit corporation that is represented by the Chief Executive Officers from each of its member agencies. MetroLEC oversees various operational components that have been established to supplement the capabilities of its member agencies. Control Chiefs are specifically responsible for overseeing each of these individual operational components.
MetroLEC presently consists of 43 municipal police departments and 2 Sheriff’s Departments, and services an area spanning over 650 square miles across Bristol, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Plymouth counties. MetroLEC departments collectively represent a population of over 750,000 people, representing 12 percent of the Commonwealth’s total population. Eleven MetroLEC communities host a resident population that exceeds 25,000, including the larger communities of Attleboro, Braintree, Natick, Needham, Norwood, Randolph, Wellesley, and Weymouth. Geographically, MetroLEC communities represent an equal mix of bedroom communities, industrial communities and communities that reside in the immediate outskirts of Boston and Providence. Further, MetroLEC member departments are influenced by the traveling public that navigate Interstate 95, and Routes 495, 93 and 3 – all major thoroughfares utilized for the transport of illegal goods. Both individually and collectively, MetroLEC departments are witnessing an increase in the nature and volume of criminal activity occurring across the region.
Aside from the more traditional concerns of natural and man-made disasters, crowd control, demonstrations, incidents of civil disobedience, and school and workplace violence, the events of September 11th and the subsequent Anthrax scares have all served to further reinforce the unique challenges that now confront local law enforcement communities. Since its establishment as a non-profit organization in January 2002, MetroLEC has developed into an essential resource for Massachusetts law enforcement agencies, through quality services available from its Special Tactics and Response Division (MetroSTAR), Regional Traffic Safety Division, Radio Communications Division, Cyber-Crime Investigations Division, and Special Investigations Division.
The capabilities of MetroLEC teams are not limited to critical incidents. Aside from having a tactical component and in recognition of the benefit of regional collaboration, the Metro-LEC has expanded to address other regional law enforcement concerns: MetroLEC offers its members enhanced services through the following Divisions. Any member community can activate a Division to receive professional assistance with an incident that would ordinarily exceed their internal resources and capabilities.
Special Tactics and Response Division (MetroSTAR)
MetroSTAR serves as the tactical component of the MetroLEC. Following a large-scale strike in Braintree, Massachusetts, a number of police chiefs from Norfolk County formed the Norfolk County Special Tactics and Response Team (NORSTAR). At the time, each of the participating agency contributed personnel to form a tactical police force. This tactical police force, now known as MetroSTAR, is comprised of over 100 officers who are specially trained to respond to critical law enforcement incidents. MetroSTAR can be activated by any member community in responding to an incident that would ordinarily exceed the resources and capabilities of the requesting community. These officers train on a regular basis and have restructured their training program to ensure the capacity to respond to the contemporary concerns of the member communities. MetroSTAR is comprised of the following special response teams: Regional Response Teams (RRT), Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT), Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS), Tactical Canine Unit (K-9), and Administrative and Logistical Support Unit.
Regional Traffic Safety Division
The Regional Traffic Safety Division provides vehicle related services for MetroLEC. The long-standing Motorcycle Unit is regularly activated to perform critical crowd control and traffic control services, as well as providing escorts for major events occurring in and among member communities. The Regional Traffic Safety Division is comprised of the following units: Motorcycle Operations Patrol Unit (MOP) and Motor Vehicle Collision Reconstruction Services Unit.
Radio Communications Division
The Radio Communications Division provides proactive planning and implementation services to aid the radio communications infrastructure across member communities. The primary task of this operational component is to serve as the communications “backbone.” When making a call-out for emergency assistance, it expands inter-operational abilities between member agencies and provides for the tactical communication operations for a large-scale law enforcement incident. The Division is engaged in several projects with the Greater Boston Police Council and the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council in an effort to improve and expand the Boston Area Police Emergency Radio Network (BAPERN), utilized by most MetroLEC members.
Cyber-Crime Investigations Division
The Cyber-Crime Investigations Division provides investigative assistance and forensic services to member communities. The Division recognizes that while the Internet has proven to be an indispensable tool in today’s world, it has also been used as a vehicle to commit various types of threats, frauds, scams, thefts, and predatory victimization of young people. The use of computers to commit crimes, victimize young people, or serve as the repository of evidential information presents another very unique challenge to law enforcement. As most local law enforcement agencies do not have the expertise or resources to effectively deal with these situations on their own, the Cyber-Crime Investigations Division provides members with specially trained police officers and a computer forensic laboratory. Given the specialized nature of this Division, the pervasive presence that computers have many crimes, and the increasing need for computer forensic services, the Cyber-Crime Investigations Division is a full-time, 24-7 operation. Specific activities of the Division include: investigative assistance, retrieval and preservation of evidence, forensic analysis, documentation of findings and testifying in court. Since its inception, the Division has assisted numerous investigations involving child pornography, guns, drugs, extortion, check fraud, identity theft, and restraining order violations. The Cyber-Crime Investigations Division is comprised of a Forensics Unit, an Investigative Unit and an Education Unit.
Criminal Investigations Division
The Investigative Support Unit (ISU) of the Criminal Investigations Division provides investigative assistance to MetroSTAR Division. The ISU offers its services for a variety of activations, including missing persons, large or unruly crowds, hostage/barricade incidents, and high-risk warrant service. The following services are provided by the ISU: dissemination of flyers; coordination and conducting of field canvassing; pursuit of leads generated by media coverage; liaison with family members; preliminary assistance at crime scenes; death notifications; investigation of known subjects; intelligence gathering on the subject; interviews with family and friends of hostages to assist with personality assessments; investigative steps to confirm subject’s location; assistance in the obtaining of arrest and/or search warrants; logistics support to the Crisis Negotiation Team; pre-raid surveillance; site work-up; surveillance of warrant subject or known associates.