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Debate Continues Over Police Control in Boston's Seaport District

Boston's Seaport District is booming with new restaurants, new luxury condos, and lots of new foot traffic. Behind the scenes, though, there’s an ongoing turf war.

Massachusetts State Police troopers have patrolled the Seaport for years, but the Boston Police department says its officers should at the very least have shared responsibility for the area.

State Police troopers aren’t letting go of control, though, at least for now.

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As it stands now, Boston Police officers respond to 911 calls in the area, but if they need to make an arrest, State Police have to be called in. 

On Wednesday, House leaders shot down a budget amendment trying to change that. They want Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh to work it out instead.

"I’m expecting to get a report back from the State Police on that issue in the next few days," Baker said.

"Whatever happens at the end of the day, there needs to be legislative action. There has to be change in the law," said Walsh.

After the recent State Police overtime pay scandal, where some troopers were accused of getting paid for work they never did, Stonehill College political science professor Peter Ubertaccio said, "I think surely they want reform and they want to make sure that kind of scandal doesn’t happen again."

"If they’re going to settle this jurisdictional dispute," Ubertaccio continued, "it’s going to happen because the timing is ripe right now." 

Years ago, the Seaport District was described by some as barren, but now it’s fueling Boston’s economy.

The Massachusetts Port Authority owns the land, which is why State Police still patrols the area.

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