The Massachusetts State Police, Waltham Police Department, Watertown Police Department, and Newton Police Department, along with the Department of Conservation and Recreation, are partnering in a summer initiative to enhance safety along the Riverwalk and other parkland along the Charles River Upper Basin.
Troopers and Officers this weekend will launch Project Safe Summer, a joint patrol initiative that recognizes the four police agencies’ shared responsibility to enhance public safety along this serene area popular with walkers, runners, cyclists, and nature lovers. Teams consisting of members from each of the four departments will patrol the Upper Basin parklands and work collaboratively to address quality-of-life issues and other public concerns.
The joint teams will patrol the area at various times, supplementing existing regular patrols. Because portions of the Riverwalk and other Upper Basin areas are not fully accessible to conventional police patrols, Project Safe Summer teams will use varied methods — including bicycles, Gators, and walking patrols — to cover the area. The teams will also seek to occasionally involve other department assets, such as the State Police Mounted Section and State Police Marine Section.
The task force will also seek input from community groups, homeless outreach groups and mental health professionals to best understand and address issues that team members may encounter.
The idea for the initiative was formed after Troopers and Officers jointly spoke to Riverwalk visitors about their safety and quality-of-life concerns. The departments realized that by combining state and local police resources, more could be done to proactively and quickly address the public’s concerns. The combined effort also will further strengthen relationships between the police departments and allow them to share intelligence and draw on each other’s expertise and experience.