Yesterday morning, I drove down to the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel on Congress Street (I was on a panel discussion).
When I came out, there was some minor thing going on in which a guest checking out felt compelled to have police summoned. A state trooper arrived, rather than a Boston Police officer, since, of course, the hotel sits on Massport land and God forbid Boston Police be able to patrol something in Boston that is owned by a state authority that isn't a highway or train line. It was a bit like Alice's Restaurant in miniature - the state trooper took notes, got out his camera and took some pictures, although not enough to print out 27 eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.
And then he left.
And a minute later, a Massport cop pulled up, because, of course, the hotel sits on Massport land. By this point, the guest just wanted to leave and asked why he had to tell her the whole story when he'd just finished explaining the thing to a trooper, but she said, sorry, he made the call and now he'd have to answer to her as well and so he repeated the story he'd just told the trooper. But he objected when she whipped out a pink iPhone to try to take the same photos the trooper just took and she admitted that was, in fact, her personal iPhone, not MassPort police standard issue - and, amazingly, she agreed and put away the phone rather than raising issues of authoritah and such.
I was taking this all in not because of my nose for news, but because I was waiting for a valet to show up with my own car and it was the only show in town at the moment. But as I stood under the heat lamp in the driveway, I wondered: Why the hell do we have two police departments patrolling the same six or eight blocks? And why do they have to double team incredibly minor calls? Aren't there better ways they could spend their time?