Google Analytics

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Alleged Xbox thief foiled by automatic doors

A Braintree man who allegedly stuffed an Xbox and a digital camera under his shirt in the rest room of the Best Buy at the South Bay mall ran into a little trouble while trying to make his escape.
The suspect took off running when an employee confronted him, but was confounded by the automatic doors. The doors opened up just fine when police walked up, though, giving the suspect his chance to run. Boston Police officers proved to be fast enough to catch the man, identified as Chris Burke, and arrest and charge him with larceny over $250.

Source: BPD Press Release

Friday, December 30, 2011

7 year old injured after being trapped under gravestone

A gravestone fell on a 7 year old girl at Edson Cemetery in Lowell on Thursday, pinning her underneath it and seriously injuring her.
The girl's mother, a 33 year old Dracut resident, was visiting the grave of a relative at the cemetery off Gorham Street, and while there, the girl and a friend were playing when a stone approximately 3 feet high and 4 feet wide fell on top of the child. Police arrived on scene and initially requested a tow truck or similar vehicle to assist in moving the stone off of the girl. The Lowell Fire Department also was on scene, requesting a technical rescue response. The girl was freed from under the stone and evaluated by paramedics, who determined that she had serious injuries and requested a medflight helicopter.
Medflight landed at Cawley Field and transported the girl to Mass General Hospital in Boston. She is believed to have sustained both a shoulder fracture and a broken femur. Her condition is unknown at this time.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Military Air log, December 29th

Radio Logs:

1527: USCG HU-25c #2112 calling CGAS Cape Cod on 345.0 MHz, reports landing in 15 minutes.
1604: ME ANG KC-135R #63-8873 "MAINE85" calling MAINEIAC Ops on 311.0 MHz, 25 minutes out, will remain in the pattern until landing at approx. 1700. Landed on KBGR runway 33 just after 1700.
1606: USAF C-5B #86-0011 "RCH201" calling CASINO ROYALE (439th AW Command Post at KCEF) on 252.1, 30 minutes out, cargo to offload, will likely spend the night. (Ended up getting back underway a few hours later).
1712: USAF C-5B #86-0012 "RODD99" refueling from ME ANG KC-135R #59-1498 "MAINE86" in refueling area AR-631 on AR-631 Primary, 295.8 MHz.
1813: USNR C-40 #166695 "CONVOY4962" calling KBGR on 311.0 MHz. Landed at approximately 1835, then back in the air en route to Ramstein AFB in Germany at 2017.
1847: MAINE86 on with MAINEIAC Ops on 311.0, 25 minutes out from KBGR. Maintenance status is code 1 w/ 1 small write up for the boom.
2015: USAF C-17A #04-4128 "JINX52" refueling from NJ ANG KC-135R #63-8003 "TOPCAT7" in AR-631 on primary freq 295.8 MHz

Above times are all local (EST)

Mode-S Logs

Format: HexCode Serial Callsign    GMT                             Type         Country           Operator
Squawk       Altitude

All times in GMT, oldest to newest from bottom to top.

AE042D 64-14834 RCH4834 2011-12-30 03:38:56 KC-135R United States AFRC | 434ARW | 72ARS [KGUS] 6255 39000
AE0139 63-8003 TOPCAT7 2011-12-30 02:09:21 KC-135R United States NJ ANG | 108W | 141ARS [KWRI] 1651 25000
AE128C 69-5827 AGILE 24 2011-12-30 01:44:31 MC-130 United States USAF --- ---
AE0139 63-8003 TOPCAT7 2011-12-30 01:43:46 KC-135R United States NJ ANG | 108W | 141ARS [KWRI] 1651 25000
E47EF6 N637TW RYN0450 2011-12-30 00:29:53 Boeing 767-33AER United States Ryan Intl Airlines --- 31000
AE07A7 59-1498 MAINE86 2011-12-29 23:26:06 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4656 21000
AE014E 63-8872 MAINE87 2011-12-29 23:26:05 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4660 21500
43C0DB ZH881 RRR5511 2011-12-29 23:17:24 C-130 C5 United Kingdom RAF | LTW 2447 4950
AE29FE 166695 CNV4962 2011-12-29 23:11:05 C-40A United States USNR | VR-56 [KNTU] 3061 41000
AE014E 63-8872 MAINE87 2011-12-29 22:56:14 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4660 21500
AE07A7 59-1498 MAINE86 2011-12-29 22:56:02 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4656 21000
AE014E 63-8872 MAINE87 2011-12-29 22:26:53 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4660 21500
AE07A7 59-1498 MAINE86 2011-12-29 22:26:52 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4656 21000
AE2B70 ------ --- 2011-12-29 22:17:09 F-15E United States USAFE | 48FW | 492FS [EGUL] 1200 1200
AE014E 63-8872 MAINE87 2011-12-29 22:15:44 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4660 21500
AE07A7 59-1498 MAINE86 2011-12-29 22:15:26 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] 4656 21000
A5C192 N470EV EIA1678 2011-12-29 21:20:40 Boeing 747-273C United States Evergreen International --- ---
AE07C4 63-8873 MAINE85 2011-12-29 20:55:18 KC-135R United States ME ANG | 101ARW | 132ARS [KBGR] --- ---
ADFE2D 2112 --- 2011-12-29 20:24:47 HU-25c United States USCG | CGAS Cape Cod [KFMH] 4421 9375
AE4AE5 09-27022 ??? 2011-12-29 20:15:02 C-27J United States --- --- ---
AE0368 63-8013 PACK81 2011-12-29 17:52:52 KC-135R United States OH ANG | 121ARW [KLCK] --- ---
AE49C3 09-9207 RCH9207 2011-12-29 17:27:00 C-17A United States USAF | 437AW [KCHS] 2520 34000
AE0181 84-0139 YANKEE 2011-12-29 16:12:57 C-21A United States CT ANG | 103FW | 118FS [KBDL] --- ---
AE018A 84-0096 SHAFT99 2011-12-29 16:11:58 C-21A United States CT ANG | 103FW | 118FS [KBDL] --- ---
A2BEBB N276WA CMB0720 2011-12-29 15:21:37 MD-11F United States WorldAirways 5660 35025

Man shot in the leg in Revere

Just before 6:00 PM on December 9th, emergency services responded to 18 Emanuel St for a report of a person shot. EMS transported a man in his early 20's to Massachusetts General Hospital with a single gunshot wound to the leg.

Boston Logan Comair 3045 Alert 2, part 2

The exiting (ok, not that exciting)  conclusion to yesterday's audio post of Monday's Alert 2 at Boston Logan airport. In this segment, the plane has already done a low pass over the runway, and is circling around to join the landing pattern. I cut several minutes worth of silence out of the recording.

Comair 3045 Alert 2 Part 2 by AlertNewEngland

Tracking stolen iPhone leads police to suspect

After a woman set her phone down at a Newbury Street shoestore only to find it missing seconds later, Boston Police detectives used the "Find-Iphone" app to track the missing device. From the BPD press release:

Around 11:30AM, the victim called detectives from District D-4 (South End) and provided her Apple ID information and password. Detectives then utilizing the “Find I-Phone” application tacked the phone to the intersection of Washington and Berkeley Street. Officers responded to that area and made note of several individuals standing in the area of a bus stop at that location.  A few minutes later, the application updated the location of the phone to the intersection of East Berkeley Street and Fay Street, traveling on Fay Street toward Harrison Avenue. Officers then repositioned themselves toward Harrison Ave. where they then observed an individual that they had just seen earlier at the bus top at Washington and East Berkeley Streets.
Detectives then got out of their unmarked car and approached this individual who they then asked to see his cell phone. This individual immediately told officers that he had just found a phone and handed it to officers.
The suspect, Lonnie Raleigh, 46 of Brighton was arrested and charged with Receiving Stolen Property over $250.00 and Larceny over $250.00. Post arrest and Miranda, the suspect admitted to stealing the victim’s phone at the shoes store.
Great to see the police using this type of technology more and more to catch thieves.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Comair 3045 Alert 2 at Logan

On Monday, a Comair flight inbound to Boston Logan airport declared an Alert 2 after the pilots were unable to determine if the nose landing gear was down and locked. The plane made a low approach over runway 33L, and observers in the tower, on the ground, and the pilot of a Delta flight were able to visually examine the nose gear and determine that it appeared to be normal.
Airport alerts are not infrequent occurrences, and the vast majority of the time are resolved in ways that aren't particularly exciting.
Here's part one of the audio from that event. This was recorded on 121.75 MHz, which is normally used as a ground frequency at Logan, but was designated as the emergency frequency for this alert. You'll hear  Logan Command (rescue apparatus), the tower, Comair 3045, and the Delta flight that assists. Exciting conclusion tomorrow (Spoiler alert: they land safely).

Part 2 can be found here.

Comair3045Alert2Pt1 by AlertNewEngland

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monitoring helicopter traffic over Boston

In nice weather, helicopters are constantly flying in and out of Boston. The three types you'll most commonly see are Medical Helicopters, Mass State Police, and the TV news helicopters. Occasionally a military, especially a USCG helicopter will fly through. If you're within range of the city, all of these can be monitored pretty easily.
Helicopters entering the Class B airspace around Boston are required to be in communication with Logan Airport air traffic control on Boston Skyways (124.725). They will request one of the designated routes through the city, and if they need to deviate from that route, they will inform ATC of their intentions. For example, a medical helicopter may identify themselves, request the TOBIN route inbound, and say that they'll be landing at MGH. News or police helicopters will often request an area that they can hover in.
Unless you are very close to the airport, or have a fantastic antenna, you will probably not be able to hear the air traffic control side of the conversation.
Boston Skyways, as well as the helicopter air-air frequencies, can be monitored online here.

Medical Helicopters

Boston Medflight communicates with their dispatch center on several channels, generally all on the same frequency, 460.8 MHz. They use several different PL tones, depending on which tower they are closer to. For Boston, tones 114.8 & 107.2 are used. In Plymouth, the tone is 127.3, and for Bedford, 103.5. Your best bet is is likely to put the frequency is as CSQ, so that you hear all the repeaters. When communicating with air traffic control on Skyways, they use call signs Med1, Med2, etc.

UMass LifeFlight is dispatched on 155.16, and the dispatch side of the conversation generally comes in quite well in the Boston area. LifeFlight frequently makes trips into Boston, and with air traffic control, the helicopters use "Lifeflight" as a their call sign.

Southern New Hampshire and Maine are covered by the Dartmouth Hitchcock Advanced Response Team, known as DHART. Their missions are dispatched on 155.325 and 464.45 MHz and can generally be heard in the Boston area and especially north of the city. Their air traffic control call sign is DHART.

Medical helicopters headed into the city will usually contact the destination hospital on the CMED system, identify themselves, and provide an ETA and information about the patient's condition.

Helicopters responding to the scene will generally establish scenes with the agency in charge of the landing zone, which is usually the fire department, on the FD's main channel, or another frequency provided by the fire department.

Massachusetts State Police

The MSP airwing helicopters are easy to monitor on the 800 MHz trunk system. Most of their communications happens on the talkgroup dedicated to them, 35472, which is active on most sites of the trunked system. They will also establish direct communications on whatever troops TG they are working with, or direct with the specific police department they are working with. Their callsigns on both the MSP systems and with air traffic control are "State Police 2", "State Police 5", etc, or "Air2", "Air5", etc.

News Helicopters

There are generally three news helicopters (not including traffic) working the Boston area. The easiest way to monitor them is  on Boston Skyways and the helicopter air-air frequencies (123.025 and 123.075). When communicating with air traffic control, these helicopters will use their tail number as their call sign. WCVB's helicopter is N505TV. WHDH's helicopter is N55SL.

Several news stations offer live tracking of their helicopter on their web site, for example, Channel 7's helicopter can be tracked here.


Military helicopters occasionally pass over the city. Your best bet for monitoring them is to listen to Skyways and keep an ear open for unfamiliar call signs. For example, the Massachusetts Army National Guard helicopters often use BOSOX as a call sign. Coast Guard helicopters generally use their serial number, for example "Coast Guard 6004". If you have a scanner, you can sometimes hear them on the military frequencies, such as 46.85 MHz for the MA ARNG units.

Good luck, and as always, your questions and comments are welcome.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Updated Boston (ZBW) Air Route Traffic Control Frequencies

Air traffic control frequencies often change around, and it can sometimes be challenging to find a definitive list of frequencies online. Here's a list of the current frequencies, taken from the Department of Defense Flight Information Publication IFR Supplement, and the FAA's Airport/Facility Directory. This list is current through February. High altitude frequencies are listed in bold. High/Low altitude frequencies are bold and underlined.

Boston Center (ZBW)

Augusta – 134.95 307.0
Barnstable – 132.9 128.75 127.825 243.0 290.3 307.3 321.3 370.9 387.1
Berlin – 135.7 282.2
Bucks Harbor – 133.45 269.3 290.5
Burlington – 118.825 120.35 251.075 342.25
Calverton – 124.525 379.85
Caribou – 124.75 239.05
Concord – 128.325 348.7
Cummington – 132.65 379.1
Gardner – 134.7 123.75 338.2 381.4
Houlton – 128.05 120.25 319.1 346.3
Hyannis – 133.45 269.3
Islip – 135.8 132.3 259.1 346.3
Kingston – 134.3 256.9
Lake George – 135.325 133.625 128.325 121.35 348.7 354.1 360.3 393.3
Lebanon – 134.7 381.4
Melrose – 135.55 133.325 119.25 281.5 353.7 370.9
Millinocket – 128.05 319.1
Montpelier – 135.7 282.2
Portland – 128.2 322.4
Rockdale – 133.25 126.475 279.5 353.925
St. Albans – 128.05 124.25 120.25 290.5 319.1 321.3 346.4
Shelton – 135.075 134.0 128.1 125.575 343.8 306.3 317.7 351.7
Turin – 135.25 133.25 123.875 120.35 279.5 321.3 323.0 377.1 342.25
Utica – 124.125 342.25 353.925
Waterboro – 128.2 118.55
Woodstock – 135.325 133.425 133.425 127.65 124.85 118.425 269.2 277.4 307.9 360.6 398.9

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Boston Police and NORAD track Santa

Three times on Christmas Eve, messages went out to all Boston Police radios giving the current location of Santa Clause. This is the message that went out at 6:00 PM. Officers who were home with their families could turn on their duty radios so that the kids could listen and find out where Santa is.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

F-15's conduct intercept drill

Audio from this morning's intercept drill. HUNTRESS is the call sign for NORAD Northeast Air Defense Sector. SLAM31 & SLAM32 are F-15's from the Massachusetts Air National Guard. In the drill, they intercept and attempt to establish contact with a rogue Boeing 777 aircraft. I believe this drill was conducted over New York State.

SLAM31 & HUNTRESS Intercept by AlertNewEngland

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

F-15's make a surprise stop in the Seacoast

UPDATE: Apparently 5 F-15's ended up landing at Pease. Here's a photo.

Two F-15E Strike Eagles made an unscheduled stop at Pease International Tradeport today just after noon. The planes, from the 326th fighter squadron, were being ferried across the Atlantic, and had taken off from MorĂ³n Air Base in Spain this morning. The planes were part of a larger flight, which was being accompanied by refueling tankers. Two F-15's, operating as MAZDA21 elected to divert to either Bangor International Airport or Pease, and chose Pease. Before landing, they requested fuel and parking. It is unclear how long they will be at Pease for, but it is likely a brief stop, as I'm sure the pilots are eager to return to their home base at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina.

Per the message boards, the aircraft traveling today had the following tail numbers:


Frequencies used were:

321.00 PACK Control at KPSM
263.05 KPSM Approach

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Man shot in the head in Lynn

Emergency services responded to an alley near 16 Newhall Street and found a male in his 30's with a single gunshot wound to his head just after 2:00 PM. The man was transported to Salem Hospital by ambulance. Medflight was requested to fly the man to a Boston hospital.

Lynn Police stopped two suspects in the area shortly after the shooting, but it is unknown if any arrests have been made.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fatal accident on Lincoln Street in Worcester

A 47 year old Worcester woman was killed when she was struck by a car while crossing Lincoln Street at 4:30 Saturday afternoon.

The full press release:

On Saturday November 26, 2011 at approximately 4:37 pm Worcester Police Officers responded to the area of 148 Lincoln St for report of a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian. Upon arrival officers discovered a single car accident involving a pedestrian who had suffered severe injuries. Paramedics arrived and the victim was transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The victim has been identified as a 47- yr-old Worcester resident. Her identity is being withheld at this time pending notification of next of kin. The exact cause of death has not been determined and is pending results of an autopsy to be performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston.

The Worcester Police Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and has initiated an investigation. Preliminary results of the investigation have determined a 2004 Chevrolet Classic operated by a 50-yr-old Worcester resident, was traveling south on Lincoln St when it struck the pedestrian who was crossing the roadway from east to west in front of the on coming vehicle. The operator was the sole occupant of the vehicle at the time of the accident and remained on scene until officers arrived. The Chevrolet sustained right front end and windshield damage. At the scene of the accident Lincoln St is a two lane roadway divided by double yellow lines with a posted 30 mph speed limit. The investigation by the Accident Reconstruction Team is on-going at this time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why did the cops do that, part 2: Pepper Spray

There's been a lot of talk about the use of pepper spray lately, usually in the context of police officer spraying peaceful protesters at one of the Occupy protests.

Here's an example from Tulsa, Oklahoma, with Keith Olbermann implying that the police use of pepper spray was cowardly:

And another video, from a protest at the University of California-Davis, where a police lieutenant uses a large can of pepper spray on a group of protesters:

I think many people have criticized this use of pepper spray without an understanding of why it is used and what it does. For the purposes of this discussion, the issue of whether or not the protesters should have been allowed to remain is irrelevant. In both instances, police were ordered to evict people from a particular place.

For background, I have been trained in the use of non-lethal/less-lethal force. I have been pepper sprayed and tear-gassed as part of this training, so I know what each feels like, and understand the effects firsthand.

Pepper spray is capsaicin oil suspended in a medium in a pressurized can. Essentially, it is "hot pepper oil". When sprayed on a person's face, it can cause pain, force the eyes to tear up and close, and make it difficult to breathe. It can make your eyes run and make you cough. The effects usually start to wear off after 15-20 minutes and are gone within an hour. Many police departments policies provide for a person who has been pepper sprayed to be given a change of clothes and access to water to clean their face off with.

Police have few options when ordered to move people who refuse to be moved. 200 pounds of dead weight is actually pretty difficult to move, and the problem is compounded when dealing with protesters who link arms together or employ other means to remain in place. If you don't believe me, have a friend go completely limp, and attempt to drag them 100 feet or so. A question I commonly hear is "Why can't a couple of cops just grab a person and drag them away?". Well, that might work for one or two people, but the protesters almost always outnumber the cops, and it wouldn't work at all for protesters who have linked arms together.

So we have a situation where protesters have been ordered by the police to disperse, and are refusing. In the past, doctrine would have had officers charging in with batons, delivering blows until the protesters were too injured to remain in place. Another option is the application of what is known as "pain compliance", through the use of a minimal amount of physical force. For example, an officer could place the edge of his hand under a protester's nose, and then lift up. In theory, this will cause enough pain that the person stands up to avoid it, and can then be removed. This can be effective, but can also lead to injuries, both among police and demonstrators. If someone used such a technique on you, you would probably have a hard time remaining peaceful. So, pepper spray is used as a non-physical way of gaining compliance through pain. As an added bonus, people who have been sprayed are incapacitated to a degree, which affects their ability to fight with the police if they were so inclined.

People seem especially outrage that demonstrators are being sprayed in the eyes, or from close range, or that pregnant women or women in their 80's are being prayed.

Pepper spray is designed to be applied to the face, primarily to the eyes, nose and mouth. Studies have shown that direct exposure to pepper spray does no damage to the eyes. The eyes are generally the most affected by pepper spray, so that's where it goes.

Pepper spray is generally used within six feet. It's a liquid spray, so the precise application of it can be tricky. Spraying from closer helps to ensure that it is delivered accurately, and that only the people you intend to spray get sprayed. A good blast of spray has the same affect regardless of distance (i.e., it doesn't hurt more when done closer). In the video from Tulsa, the police are seen holding a protester's head while applying the spray. If they didn't, he could just keep moving his head to prevent the police from delivering the spray effectively.

Pepper spray works the same, and isn't any more or less effective or dangerous, on pregnant women and old ladies. If you are ordered by the police to disperse or be pepper sprayed, and you refuse to disperse, they aren't going to spray everyone but you.

Questions and comments are always welcome, and if anyone has way to move protesters that doesn't involve hurting them, we're all ears.

Part one of this series, which discusses the police detaining someone who appears to be crazy, can be found here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why did the cops do that?

Whenever I read a news article about the police, there are always a slew of comments asking why the police acted the way they did. Reading through those comments, it's apparent that while some of them are just from people who will always hate the police no matter what, others have formed opinions based on a misunderstanding of how the police are supposed to handle a given situation. For example, in an article like "Police shoot, kill deranged machete-wielding man", you'll see people ask questions like "I don't understand, if they had just gotten to know him, they would realize he'd never hurt anyone. Besides, they had 10 big officers there, all heavily armed and wearing bullet-proof vests. Why were they so scared of one man? Couldn't they have done anything else?". You can see where the person is coming from, but because they have misconceptions about what happens in these situations, they go away thinking the police are murderers and cowards.

I'm going to post a series of blog entries attempting to address why situations play out like they do. Obviously if you're the type that thinks everything the police do is wrong anyways, this probably isn't for you. I'd love to answer questions about why the officers may have taken a specific action, but I'm generally not interested in debating with a reader over whether or not a given policy is correct. Without further ado, here's today's entry:

For the first example, we'll discuss a scenario that happened in Boston, and was recently posted on UniversalHub. To summarize, someone observed an older gentleman out late at night near the Faulkner Hospital and out of concern for his safety, called the police. According to the man's account of the incident, he was out for a jog, but he admits that he may have looked like an escapee from a nursing home. The man refused to answer questions posed by the officer, and was handcuffed, put into an ambulance and taken to the Faulkner Hospital ER, where he was held against his will until a doctor determined he was alright, and then released.

It's obviously not a crime to jog, or to suffer from dementia, Alzheimer's, or other mental illness. There is, however, a significant public interest in caring for people who cannot take care of themselves, or who are in danger of hurting themselves or others. Many of these people willingly check themselves into a hospital for an evaluation, but others refuse to go. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 123, Section 12, allows for emergency, involuntary hospitalization of a person in this situation. This can be initiated by a police officer, doctor, psychologist, or certified mental health nurse. This form is completed, including justification as to why the applicant feels it is necessary, and the person is generally restrained and taken to the nearest emergency room for an evaluation. They will be evaluated by a doctor within two hours, and the doctor will then make the determination whether to release the person, or to authorize them to be held against their will for up to three days. At this point, the patient has the right to have an appeal before a court, and also to agree to a voluntary admission (under certain conditions), instead of involuntary.

In this specific case, police were tasked with making a judgement about the man's condition. The only way to do this is by conversing with the patient. Generally, you would be asked things like, "What is your name/address", "Do you know where you are", "What is today's date/what day is it?", "Do you know who the president is", that sort of thing. According to his account, the man refused to answer the questions, or gave answers that to the police may have seemed rambling or disconnected (I'm doing this for your children.).  Of course, this is perfectly within the man's rights when dealing with the police, but the officers have no way of knowing whether the man is unwilling to answer these questions, or unable to based on his mental condition. It sounds like the police explained to the man why they were there, but even though he hadn't committed a crime, the man kept asking to be handcuffed, which could easily be seen as a cry for help. Also, through experience, police officers have learned that a person asking to be handcuffed usually has a good reason. So, as far as the police could tell, the man was unable to answer questions, behaved oddly, and the situation seemed strange. Based on their observations, they decided the man needed medical care, and they put him in an ambulance and sent him to the emergency room. From there, per the man's account, the police were no longer involved, and the rest of the Section 12 scenario played out.

There are multiple scenarios in which the police, under the rubric of general public safety, can detain you against your will without a crime being committed. The most common of these is when an intoxicated individual is placed into protective custody (commonly known as "the drunk tank). Section 12's as detailed above, are also common, especially for people believed to be suicidal. In a third example, a court may issue a warrant for a drug addict to be forced into rehab, and police may be called upon to execute that warrant. Another common example is a CHINS (CHild In Need of Services) warrant, issued for a runaway or truant juvenile. In each of these examples, because the person is not under arrest or being charged with a crime, their rights are different than what you may be accustomed to. For example, because police aren't questioning you and you aren't under arrest, you won't be read a Miranda Warning. Unlike the usual voluntary encounter with police, you aren't free to leave unless you're being arrested or charged.

If you are ever stopped by police due to a mental health concern, you have two options:

1) Answer their questions to the best of your ability, and if there is no reason for them to be concerned, they will let you go.

2) Remain silent and take a free ride to the emergency room. Once there, you can have a chat with a doctor. Of course, you can remain silent there, too, in which case they'll just keep you longer.

Comments, questions, and criticisms are always welcome.

DISCLAIMER: My post addresses general policies and laws. I do not speak for the police officers on scene that night, or for any police department.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Military aircraft monitoring in the Boston area

You may not think of Boston, or New England in general, as a hotbed of Air Force and Navy activity, but this can actually be a fairly active area for listening to military airplanes. Both Maine and New Hampshire have very active Air National Guard refueling wings which can be heard almost daily. Fighter wings from Massachusetts and Vermont can be heard frequently, and I've heard the RI National Guard flying, too.
Besides these, the majority of the military aircraft deploying to, or returning from overseas pass over the region, and can often be heard communicating with air traffic control. Some can't make the trip without gassing up, and you can hear mid-air refueling over Maine, New Hampshire, and Nova Scotia.

The first thing you'll need, obviously, is a capable receiver. You'll want one that receives the UHF military air band, 225-400 MHz. Not all scanners have this capability. I use a Uniden BCD396XT and an Icom IC-R20. An aftermarket antenna will probably also give you a signal boost. If your scanner doesn't have the UHF air band, you can still hear military flights as they contact air traffic control. If your new, just be aware that most commercial airlines use callsigns; SPEEDBIRD213 isn't some cool new stealth bomber, it's just the British Airways flight into Logan.

Most of the milair transmissions happen very fast. Ever with a fast scanner, if you're scanning a couple hundred channels at a time, you'll probably miss a lot. I'd recommend either dedicating a scanner to listening to milair, or use the "priority" feature on your scanner to concentrate on, and frequently scan, the most likely channels.

The ScanNewEngland wiki is a great starting point to find military frequencies active in the area. You'll also want to check out the mid-air refueling routes in the area, and program in those frequencies. Lastly, you'll want to program in the UHF air traffic control frequencies for the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center and the Boston Consolidated TRACON. Military flights contact air traffic control on VHF and UHF, but UHF is only used by military flights. If you listen to VHF & UHF, you'll hear every flight, military and civilian. You may also want to be proficient in quickly adding a frequency, as the pilot will often announce over the air which ATC frequency he's using or going to use next.

A website run by the FAA will even tell you when there are going to be military exercises in the area, or when a certain refueling area will be active. 

For example purposes, here's the transmissions I noted this morning. Blanks indicate where I missed a callsign.

11:18 PACK61 on 321.0

11:23 PACK61 & 62 (NH Air National Guard KC-135R's) on 321.0MHz (PACK Control Com 2), climbing to 21,000, receivers will be in formation at 19,500, are running 15 minutes late. Receivers will also be linking up with TEAM21 (KC-10A from the 305th Air Mobility Wing). Will also be using 282.7MHz (AR-204 alternate) during refueling.

11:33 TEAM21 & KILLER1 (MA ANG F-15) on 338.2MHz (Boston ARTCC GDM36)

11:38 RAGE1 (Likely Navy F-18) on 338.2, dropping from 41,000

11:45  ___531 on 269.2 (Boston ARTCC PVD34)

11:46 ______ requests Uniform (UHF frequency assignment) on 307.9 (Boston ARTCC BOSOX47)

12:51 PACK61 on 321.0MHz, 15 minutes out from landing, Code 1, 35k fuel remaining.

13:34 PACK62 on 321.0MHz 15 minutes out, Code 2, two maintenance write ups for bad battery on one piece of equipment (IGY-2?), FLS no go on MMR2, 25k fuel remaining. Requests air stairs.

Good luck! I'm more than happy to answer any questions, or take any suggestions!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Medflight called to Yarmouth after man hit by car

A man in his 40's was found unconscious and suffered severe head trauma after being hit by a car Wednesday night in the area of 742 Main Street (Route 28). A Boston Medflight helicopter responded and flew the man to Mass General Hospital in Boston. His condition is unknown at this time.

Person struck by train in Acton

An outbound MBCR (#431) commuter rail train struck a person in Acton this evening in the area of the South Acton commuter rail station. Rail service is suspended, and patrons are being shuttle between stations by bus.

Train service was restored at 10:00 PM.

Saugus school evacuated due to strange odor

The Veterans Memorial Elementary School, located at 39 Hurd Avenue, is evacuated after people inside reported feeling ill and smelling a strange odor. Approximately twenty people were evaluated by medical personnel. A Tier One Hazmat responses was requested by Saugus Fire Department, and a regional Hazmat team is en route to the school to investigate.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Medflight called for roofer at Brockton High School

Boston Medflight was requested this morning when a roofer fell approximately 20 feet on a roof at Brockton High School. Brockton EMS transported the victim, described as a man in his 40's to the Brockton Fairgrounds, where helicopter Med 2 landed. The patient was flown to Boston Medical Center. His condition is unknown.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Person struck, killed by MBTA commuter rail train in Hyde Park

News Items for Friday, September 16th

One patient flown by medevac helicopter after accident in Plymouth
The jaws of life were used to free someone from a vehicle crash in the area of 50 Oak Street that occurred around 1:30 AM. The patient was then transported to Jordan hospital by ambulance, where they were to be met by a Boston Medflight helicopter.

Shed fire in North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Firefighters battled a heavy fire in a large shed located at 144 Hatchery Rd just after 2:00 AM.

Couch catches on fire in Keene home
At around 2:30, Keene, NH firefighters extinguished a couch that was on fire inside a home at 48 Spruce Street.

Tractor-trailer rolls over in Raynham
An 18 wheel truck rolled over on Route 24 southbound near exit 14 (I-495) at 7:00 AM. There were no serious injuries reported.

RTN Credit Union robbed in Tewksbury
A white male wearing blue jeans and a Patriot's hat walked into the RTN Credit Union at 345 Main Street (in the Wal-Mart Parking lot) and passed a note to the teller demanding money just after 11:00 AM. He fled with $1300. A large search was initiated, including officers from Tewksbury PD, Massachusetts State Police, and K9 officers from Billerica & Lowell. A MSP helicopter was on scene to assist with the search, but the suspect remains at large.

Hazardous Materials team sent to Wellesley home
A Tier 1 Hazmat repsonse was requested by Wellesley FD around 11:30 AM, when a construction crew smelled a strange chemical odor while tearing down a wall at 60 White Oak Rd.

House fire in Milford injures one
Firefighters responded and extinguished a house fire at 20 Luby Avenue around noon. One civilian was transported by EMS to the hospital with burn injuries.

Friday, September 9, 2011

6 year old girl killed in crash on I-90

Massachusetts State Police responded to a rollover accident with multiple people ejected on I-90 westbound in Auburn on Thursday at 1:00 PM. The first trooper on scene reported serious injuries and requested LifeFlight, which was not flying due to weather. The accident occurred in the middle lane, and the trooper reported finding a young girl ejected from the vehicle on the shoulder. The girl, an unidentified six year old, was transported by ambulance to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where she was pronounced dead. From the State Police press release:

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Mario Tovar indicates that Lodia Rodriguez, 25, of Worcester, was driving a 2000 Chrysler Town and Country van in the middle travel lane when her vehicle made contact with a 2008 International 4400 box truck that was to the right of her van. After the impact, Rodriguez lost control of her van, which struck the guardrail adjacent to the breakdown lane. At this time a six-year-old girl, who was a passenger in the van, was ejected onto the roadway. The van careened to its left across all three lanes, struck the guardrail along the highway median, and then rolled over, coming to rest on its roof in the middle travel lane. Rodriguez and two four-year-old girls who were passengers in the van were transported to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester with minor injuries.
The driver of the truck, John Gurr, 32, of New Britain, Conn., was not injured in the crash. 

The highway was closed for approximately 3 hours while the MSP Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team investigated the accident. Traffic on the Mass Pike backed up approximately 10 miles during this time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Truck rollover on Storrow Drive at Kenmore causes delays

A lumber truck rolled over on Storrow Drive Westbound just after 2 PM, causing an extensive backup.

Woburn police officer shot in robbery attempt

From the Middlesex County District Attorney's press release:

A Woburn Police Officer has been shot after responding to an armed robbery at Musto Jewelers on Cambridge Road in Woburn this morning, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone and Woburn Acting Police Chief Richard Kelley informed the public today.
According to authorities, this morning at approximately 11:06 am, Woburn Police and Massachusetts State Police received several 911 calls reporting a robbery at 186 Cambridge Road in Woburn. Upon arrival, Officer Robert Denapoli, 51, a 16-year veteran of the Woburn Police Department, was shot by one of the suspects. Officer Denapoli was transported to Lahey Clinic where he is currently being treated. One suspect was shot at the scene and has been transported to an area hospital. He is under arrest. Authorities are not releasing his name at this time.
Additional police officers from Woburn Police responded to the scene, as well as troopers from the Massachusetts State Police, State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and a number of area law enforcement agencies.
The investigation as well as the search for additional suspects alleged to have been involved the robbery remains ongoing.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Person medflighted after rollover accident on I-495 in Foxboro

Marsh fire rages in Quincy

Quincy Fire Department firefighters are currently battling an extensive fire in the Rock Island Cove salt marsh off of Sea Street. Firefighters from Boston and Weymouth are covering the city while the Quincy firefighters work.

Posted to twitpic by Kevin Wiles

Early morning fire leaves 40 homeless in Boston

Fire in a basement laundry room quickly spread up a ventilation shaft to the roof of a 6 story apartment  building at the corner of Hemenway Street and Westland Avenue just before 3:00 Am Sunday morning. Sprinkler systems knocked down the fire in the basement, but the roof fire grew quickly. A third alarm had to be called, as firefighters fought the fire and evacuated the residents from the building. After the fire was brought under control, the Red Cross was requested for 40 people who were displaced from their homes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Plane crash in Provincetown

Rescuers responded to a report of a plane crash near the Provincetown Airport just before 11:00 Wednesday night and found a small plane on fire with two people inside. Witnesses reported seeing the plane crash into a hill short of the runway.
Boston Medflight responded to the airport for a female patient in her 40's who was rescued from the plane. She was reported to be suffering from head injuries and burns. A second victim was reported to be dead inside of the aircraft. The crash is being investigating by the FAA and state police detectives.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lifeflight called to scene of 3 car accident on I-495 in Franklin

Mass State Police troopers and Franklin firefighters responded to a 3 car motor vehicle accident on I-495 southbound near Route 140 just before 11:00 AM Tuesday morning. Upon arrival, they discovered a head-on collision. Initial investigation showed that a woman operating her vehicle on the northbound side crossed over the median, causing the accident. At least one person was trapped in their vehicle, and a UMass Lifeflight helicopter was requested. Lifeflight 1 landed on the highway and transported one injured person, a man in his 30's who sustained life-threatening injuries, to UMass Hospital in Worcester. A second injured person was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by ground ambulance. Two more people with less serious injuries, and adult and a child, were transported to Milford Hospital.
MSP accident reconstruction teams remain on scene investigating the crash.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Person shot behind Bromley-Heath projects

A shotspotter activation behind the Bromley Heath projects led Boston Police to a crime scene in the rear of 964 Parker Street, where they found a blood trail in the middle of the courtyard. Shortly afterwards, a vehicle was stopped in the area of 1015 Tremont Street with several people inside, including the victim. The woman was transported to Boston Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
The suspect is believed to have fled on foot towards the Jackson Square MBTA station. The shooting is being worked by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center real-time crime unit, as well as crime scene technicians and detectives. At this time, the shooting appears to be gang related, and possibly a retaliatory act in response to another shooting. Ballistics evidence was located by K9 behind 265 Centre Street.
Boston Police are searching for a Terrence Keith, a dark complexioned male, last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers. He has a "Heath Street" tattoo on his arm.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Man flown by helicopter after motorcycle crash in Auburn, New Hampshire

One person had to be flown by medical helicopter to Mass General Hospital after a motorcycle accident in the 200 block of Chester Road early Wednesday morning. The patient was flown by helicopter DHART 2, and was reported to be a male in his 40's who had lost his right leg below the knee in the accident. The helicopter landed near the scene at the Auburn Village School.

UPDATE 3:22PM: An eyewitness at the scene has provided the following information:
It was out in front of my house. I was first on scene along with my neighbor. It was just one man 40's-50's. According to him, he hit the telephone pole after swerving to avoid a critter. For a while he was lucid enough to realize he was missing a leg and asked if I would prop it up for him. He was thrown about 30 feet from the bike. He was still conscious and moaning when they put him in the ambulance. His leg was severed off about 1/2 way up his shin.
Another person reports that the man's leg was transported with him to the hospital, where they may attempt to reattach it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Predicting earthquake effects with twitter

Twitter follower Brian D'Amico asked me how long it took for today's earthquake to reach us here in New England, and it prompted me to do a little math.

Per the USGS, seismic waves travel at anywhere from 2-8 kilometers per second. From the epicenter of the earthquake to Boston is roughly 853 km, give or take 30 or 40 kilometers. This means it would take the somewhere between 1 minute 46 seconds and 7 minutes for the earthquake to be felt in Boston.

USGS recorded the earthquake happening at 1:51 PM local time. The first tweet I received regarding the earthquake was at 1:57, by @gnimsh. Assuming twitters clocks and the USGS's clocks are pretty close, and that @gnimsh tweeted me right away, this definitely fits into the window. It's also worth noting that @gnimsh was alerted to the earthquake even earlier, since he already knew it occurred in Virginia. Also of note is that the USGS alert email didn't go out until 2:06 or so.

I'm guessing that there were plenty of tweets about the earthquake from people in Virginia in the 6 minutes it took for the shaking to get here. In fact, someone with better skills at searching twitter could probably show a neat trail of tweets as the tremors spread outwards. It seems to me that you (and by "you", I mean a computer program) could roughly judge the severity of a quake by the number of people tweeting about it, and even the approximate speed of it by the spread of tweets, and subsequently issue warnings to people one or two minutes before the quake hits them.

I'm not a computer programmer or seismologist. I'm interested in hearing other people's thoughts on this, though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Man shot in the leg on Dudley St in Roxbury

A man was shot in the leg near the corner of Dudley Street and Greenville St just before 1:00 PM on Monday. Boston Police officers located the victim near Zeigler Street and Winslow Street, and recovered a firearm behind a building on Dudley Street.
Boston Police report the victim was transported by EMS to Boston Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Sunset Grill employee stabbed twice on Brighton Ave

Boston Police responded to the area of 138 Brighton Ave in Allston at 2:00 AM Monday and found a Sunset Grill employee stabbed twice to the back. The stab wounds were relatively minor,  and the man was transported by BLS ambulance to Beth Israel. Initial reports are that the suspect in the stabbing is the employee's cousin.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Man Lifeflighted after being hit by police car in Framingham

UMass Lifeflight was requested and responded to Framingham early Saturday morning for a man in his 30's who was reportedly struck by a police car on Waverly St. The helicopter landed at the DPW yard off Western Avenue and transported the man to the UMass Medical Center. An accident reconstruction team is investigating the incident.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I-84 shut down in Union, CT due to fatal accident

Traffic on I-84 in Union, CT is being stopped due to a rollover accident in the area of Exit 74. A nurse on scene reports two people were ejected from the vehicle. One patient is reported to be deceased, and the second is reported to have significant bleeding and extensive blood loss. A UMass Lifeflight helicopter will be landing on the highway to transport the injured person, a man in his 70's, to UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

Lowell PD shoot knife-wielding domestic violence suspect

Lowell Police responded to an East Merrimack St address this afternoon for a reported domestic disturbance, and were confronted by a man in his 50's who had reportedly been threatening his mother. The man then allegedly ran towards officers with a knife in his hands, and was shot by police. He was transported to Lowell General Hospital while a DHART medical helicopter was requested. DHART 2 responded and transported the man to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Medics reported that the man was shot three times, once each in the thigh, abdomen, and buttocks.
No police officers were reported to be injured.

Man injured in Peabody golf cart rollover

A 79 year old man was injured this morning at the New Meadows Country Club in Peabody when the golf cart he was driving rolled over and landed on top of him. The man stated to emergency workers that he had been driving too fast while going down a hill on the golf course. Atlantic EMS Paramedic 1 transported the man to Mass General Hospital in Boston to be treated for lacerations, internal and external bruising. Part of the man's ear was torn off in the accident, as well.

Shooting in Reading declared a homicide

Authorities continue to investigate the shooting death of a man inside a Lawrence St home Monday afternoon, and are now declaring the death a homicide.
According to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, the victim, identified as 22 year old Joseph Ronan, died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds sustained in his home. Police believe that Ronan was targeted, and that the shooting was not random.

Man stabbed in front of Cambridge City Hall

Around 11:30 Thursday night, Cambridge Police responded to 795 Massachusetts Ave for a report of a man stabbed. They located a victim, described as a man in his 50's with a stab wound to his upper chest. The man was transported by ambulance to Mass General Hospital.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sovereign Bank in Kenmore Square robbed

Boston Police responded to a hold up alarm at the Sovereign Bank at 522 Commonwealth Ave at 3:00 this afternoon. On arrival, they confirmed that the bank had been robbed by a male subject into Kenmore Square, towards the Newbury St. extension.

Realated: Back Bay bank robber captured near Fenway Park.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boston bank robbed by man driving escalade

UPDATE: Just before 11:00 PM, a Boston Police officer on patrol spotted a suspect matching the description walking on Yawkey Way near Fenway Park. The man was stopped and ID'd, and subsequently taken into custody on bank robbery & parole violation charges. He was transported to BPD District A-1, where he was booked. He is currently being interviewed by agents from the FBI's Bank Robbery Task Force. 
A BPD gun K-9 is searching the area around Fenway Park for the firearm used in the robbery.

Per police, just after 5:00 PM, a man dressed in a white jumpsuit and a black ski mask entered the Cambridge Trust Bank at 65 Beacon St in Boston, and demanded the teller hand over the cash at gunpoint. According to witnesses, he then ran outside and fled in a waiting vehicle...a black Cadillac Escalade.

So I guess if you ever thought "I'd have to rob a bank to afford one of those", well, maybe you were right.

The suspect received bait money, complete with GPS tracker.

The car the suspect fled in was found near the Copley Place garage. Boston Police, along with FBI agents from the Bank Robbery Task Force, are searching the area for the suspect. Police are also searching the area of the Christian Science Center. He was observed changing clothes on the parking garage security cameras.

Law enforcement on the scene believe that at least two vehicles were involved in the robbery. The first vehicle, located in the garage, is believed to belong to the alleged suspect, and has been seized by the FBI. It is also believed that the suspect stole a second vehicle, also believed to be in the garage.

A suspect with the same name was convicted of robbing another Boston bank 23 years ago, with a gun that turned out to be fake. He received a 25 year sentence, and was released from prison in March of this year.

Per UniversalHub, the bank was also robbed at gunpoint in May.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tractor Trailer rollover on I-93 southbound in Wilmington

A rolled-over tractor trailer near Exit 39 has I-93 southbound shut down and traffic backed up for miles. Crews at the scene are working to free people from the wreck.

UPDATE: Massachusetts State Police are confirming one fatality in the accident. A second patient was taken to Lahey Hospital, and a third person is in State Police custody.


Earlier today, a car slammed into a stopped semi on I-93 in Methuen, killing one.

Car crashes into Manchester gas station, starts fire

A driver suffering from a medical emergency lost control of his vehicle this morning, crashing it into the gas pumps at the Northland Express on the corner of Elm Street and Webster St. From the MPD news release:
The preliminary investigation indicates a 2003 Mercury Marquis was traveling westbound on Webster St. when the operator, Peter Kendall, 61, of Hooksett, NH experienced a medical event and lost consciousness. The vehicle traveled across the eastbound lane and through the parking lot of The Fruit Center before entering the parking lot of the Northend Express. The vehicle collided with the gas pump which immediately ignited the fire.
The crash was witnessed by a Manchester Firefighter from Engine 5, and MFD quickly responded and contained the fire. Witnesses to the crash pulled the driver and his granddaughter to safety. The crash resulted in minor injuries.

Reading police investigate fatal shooting on Lawrence Rd

Just after 1:00 PM Monday afternoon, Reading Police received reports of a shooting on Lawrence Rd. When police arrived at the home at 3 Lawrence Rd, they found a deceased victim on a first floor couch, with a firearm nearby. RPD, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police, cleared the rest of the house room-by-room. A MSP K9 responded to possibly track the suspect, who may have fled on foot. Additionally, neighbors reported seeing a black SUV or van drive away after hearing the shots.

UPDATE 6:45 PM: From the District Attorney's office:

At approximately 1:08pm today, Reading Police responded to reports of shots fired at a residence at 3 Lawrence Road in Reading.  Upon arrival, police located the body of a young male, evidencing obvious gunshot wounds.  The decedent, 22 year old Joseph Ronan, was determined to be dead at the scene.
Reading Police and State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office commenced an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the death, and that investigation is ongoing.  The death has been determined to be suspicious.
An autopsy will be conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (ME) and further details will be released when available.

Postal worker hit by van in Malden

Malden Police responded to a pedestrian struck call late Monday morning and found a US Postal Service letter carrier who had been struck by a van. Witnesses reported seeing her going up over the hood of the van before landing in the road. Per EMS, the woman was unresponsive when Malden Fire arrived on scene, and after regaining consciousness, was unable to recall the incident. She was transported by Cataldo EMS to the hospital. Malden Police took custody of her mail van and delivered it to the post office.

NOTE: I didn't catch the location on this. Officers were talking about shutting down the road at Highland Ave, so I'm guessing it was in the area of Pleasant St. If anyone knows where this occurred, please let me know. Thanks!

UPDATE 4:39 PM: Malden Patch reports the accident happened in the area of 495 Pleasant St.

Fatal accident on I-93 in Methuen

Massachusetts State Police are investigating a crash that resulted in a fatality on I-93 southbound near Exit 47 in Methuen Monday morning. The crash involved a semi truck and a passenger car. One person was pronounced dead on the scene. The state medical examiners office is also on scene investigating.

UPDATE 5:47PM: The rest of the story, from the MSP police report:
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Jeremy Sweeney indicates that 1999 Cadillac Deville sedan operated by a 57-year-old Arlington man was traveling south on the highway when, south of Exit 47, it veered off the road to its right. The Cadillac collided with the rear of a tractor-trailer that was parked the emergency cutout of the roadway. The driver of the Cadillac suffered fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene. 
The reason why the driver veered off the road remains under investigation. 
The crash remains under investigation by Troop A of the Massachusetts State Police with the assistance of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Section, and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section. Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Metheun Fire Department and the Department of Transportation’s Highway Division. 
The right lane and breakdown lane on the southbound side at the crash scene were closed for two hours and forty-five minutes to accommodate the rescue response, crash investigation, and cleanup.
Related: Fatal accident involving tractor-trailer on I-93 in Wilmington

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Suspect, police exchange gunfire on Warren St.

Boston Police officers returned fire after a suspect allegedly shot at them on Warren St near Martin Luther King Blvd just after 1:30 AM Sunday morning. the suspect fled in a red Mitsubishi. It is unknown if anyone was hit.

UPDATE: Per Andrea Courtois from WBZ News, BPD media relations reports that the incident was only a BPD officer accidentally discharging his weapon in the street. I'm eagerly awaiting the press release, and will post further details as soon as I know more.

UPDATE 4:06PM Monday: Still no press release from BPD on the matter, but I've reviewed the recording of the radio transmissions of the event. Here's what happened:

A BPD detective unit was attempting to stop a red Mitsubishi Galant, MA plate 46JS86. The vehicle was traveling Westbound on Martin Luther King, and took a right turn onto Humboldt Avenue when they lost sight of it. Multiple Boston Police units converged on the area in an attempt to locate and stop the vehicle, which was then spotted taking a turn onto Washington St from Dale St. Police pursued the vehicle onto Thornton St, headed towards Valentine. Shortly thereafter, police reported "shots fired" on Fulda Street, one block over, and all police in the district were ordered to respond. At this point, the vehicle was reported to be on Fulda St, headed towards Heath St. An officer came up on the radio and reported that the shots were fired by police, and confirmed that no one in the vehicle had fired. The department shooting team was notified to respond to Fulda St & Valentine St, where the shots were fired. The vehicle was then spotted traveling up Parker Hill Ave towards Mission Hill. A BOLO for the vehicle was then put out on BPD channel 4 for the Jamaica Plain officers, and the dispatcher reported that "shots were fired". The vehicle was last seen on the Jamaicaway headed towards the Fenway. A BOLO was issued to all BPD officers in an attempt to locate the vehicle, and for officer safety, and the occupants were referred to as "armed and dangerous".

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Backhoe rolls off truck on I-495 in Southbororough, killing one

From the Massachusetts State Police press release:

At 1:15 p.m. today, Troopers assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Barracks in Millbury responded to a crash on Route 495 southbound, south of Simarano Drive (Exit 23C), in Southborough, that resulted in one fatality and serious injuries to three people.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Craig Brabham indicates that a 2010 Freightliner truck towing a 2007 Case backhoe on a trailer, was travelling south on Route 495 when the backhoe rolled off of the trailer and landed on top of a 2000 Toyota Sienna operated by Yingzi Wang, 42, of Westford.The Toyota and the backhoe travelled down an embankment approximately 20 feet and came to final rest with the backhoe on top of the Toyota. The four occupants of the Toyota were trapped inside.
Xjaoyun Jiang, of Westford, who was a backseat passenger in the Toyota, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The most specific information that family members can provide is that she was in her 70’s.  The operator of the Toyota was transported by medical helicopter to UMass Medical Center. Two children, a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, who were also passengers in the Toyota, were transported by ambulance to UMass Medical Center.  The operator of the truck, Jeffrey Fisher, 49, of Coventry, Rhode Island, was not injured.  The truck is owned by National Grid.
The crash remains under investigation by Troop C of the Massachusetts State Police with the assistance of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Section and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section. Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Southborough and Westborough Fire Departments and the Department of Transportation’s Highway Division.
The two right travel lanes and the breakdown lane were closed for approximately 6 hours and traffic was delayed for approximately 3 ½ miles. All lanes were opened at 8:00 p.m. 

Raynham man killed in motorcycle crash on Route 24

Just before 5:00AM on Friday, August 12th, Massachusetts State Police troopers responded to a motorcycle crash on Route 24 southbound just past the I-495 exit in Raynham. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead on the scene, and Route 24 southbound pwas shut down until 9:00. From the MSP press release:
Preliminary investigation by Troopers Gregory Furtado and Donald Short indicates that Charles J. Levesque, 54, of Raynham was operating a 2006 Honda VTX130 when he lost control of the bike on a stretch of road south of the Route 495 exit. Mr. Levesque, who was wearing a helmet, was separated from the bike, and rider and motorcycle came to rest in different travel lanes.
State Police report Levesque may have also been struck by an unknown driver after the initial crash. The accident remains under investigation.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Medflight called to scene of multi-car rollover in Waltham

Boston Medflight was called to the scene of a six car accident on Rt. 128 southbound near Winter St. just after 8:30 PM Friday evening. Two of the vehicles involved in the accident had rolled over. Both sides of the highway were shutdown so that the Medflight helicopter could land on the road. One female in her 20's, who was found out of her vehicle, was transported by helicopter to Mass General hospital in Boston. Two pediatric patients were transported to Children's Hospital in Boston by ground ambulance, and a 4th patient, an adult was also taken by ambulance to the hospital.

2 people shot on Blue Hill Ave

Boston Police responded to a report of a shooting at 1461 Blue Hill Ave just before 10:00 Friday night, and found two people suffering from gunshot wounds. One victim, who was shot in the arm, was transported to Boston Medical Center. The status of the second victim is unknown.

Danvers man killed in accident on I-95 in Boxford

Just before 10:00 PM on August 10th, Massachusetts State Police responded to a single car accident on I-95 Northbound near Exit 52 and found a single vehicle off the highway into the woods. The driver, identified as Tuc Phan, a 67 year old man from Danvers, was in traumatic arrest and did not have a pulse. Witnesses reported they had observed the vehicle traveling the wrong way on the highway just before the crash. Boxford Fire Department Car 48 began giving the man CPR on scene, and he was transported by ambulance to Beverly Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. State Police believe Phan may have suffered from a medical incident immediately before the crash.

Uniden DMA scanner basics

When I got my first Uniden DMA scanner, a BC346XT, I was completely baffled by the way the memory is organized. My old scanners had banks of channels, say, 50 banks, with 50 available channels in each. If I programmed only ten channels into a bank, the other 40 channels couldn't be re-allocated in another bank.  Uniden aimed to remedy this with a more flexible memory arrangement.
On a Uniden scanner, channels are nested into groups, which are nested into systems. So, on a larger conventional system that I listen to often, such as the city of Boston, I'll have it programmed in as such:

System: Boston
Group 1: Police
Channel 1: BPD Channel 1
Channel 2: BPD Channel 2, etc...
Group 2: Fire
Channel 1: BFD Channel 1 , etc
Group 3: EMS
Channel 1: BEMS Channel 1, etc

Because there are only 100 System Quick Keys (more on that later), you'll want to keep your total number of systems under 100. You can program in many more, having systems without Quick Keys, or two systems can share a Quick Key, but I prefer for every system to have it's own Quick Key. So, for smaller systems that I don't listen to as frequently, I arrange them a little differently:

System: Midddlesex County #1
Group 1: Acton
Channel 1: Acton PD
Channel 2: Acton FD
Channel 3: Acton EMS
Group 2: Arlington
Channel 1: Arlington PD
Channel 2: Arlington FD
Channel 3: Arlington EMS
etc, etc

Each system can have 10 Group Quick Keys, so I prefer to have no more than 10 groups per system. Because of this, Middlesex County takes up 4 or so systems on my scanners. Fortunately, there's still plenty of room.
Once you map out how you are going to assign all of your systems, groups and channels, you can program them in. Hand programming is possible, but using the computer makes it exponentially faster. I recommend the program Freescan, as it's just as good as any other program, and it's free.
Systems and groups are turned on and off by their quick keys. Because of this, every system & group should be assigned it's own quick key. As an example, on my scanner, Boston has a system quick key of 9. Simply pressing 9 on the keypad turns Boston on and off. While scanning Boston, I can turn the different groups (police/fire/ems) on and off with their group quick keys, by pressing "Func" and then the group number. I strongly recommend not using the Lockout (L/O) feature to turn channels on and off, as it can be time consuming, and can also lead to the glitchy "nothing to scan" error. The only channels I have permanently locked out are the ones that I definitely never want to listen to, for instance, BPD Channel 8, the listings and warrants channel. Pressing L/O once while on a channel you don't want to hear is acceptable, as it will only lock it out for this session, and it will be unlocked when you turn the scanner off and back on again.
Trunking systems are similar, although they are broken down into "Sites", then "Groups", then "Channels (talkgroups)". Individual sites can be assigned their own System Quick Key, so that as you travel between sites, you can quickly switch between them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

3 year old girl hit by car on Thorn St in Boston

Boston Police officers responded to 20 Thorn St for a child hit by a car Thursday evening. Upon arrival they observed a 3 year old girl, conscious and alert, with abrasions sustained from being hit by a car going approximately 10 MPH. The girl was transported to Children's Hospital by Fallon EMS. Her injuries were reported to be minor.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fatal accident on Storrow Drive

MSP, Boston Fire, and EMS are on scene with an accident on Storrow Drive westbound in the area of Kenmore Square. At least two people were ejected from their vehicle, a GMC Sierra pickup truck, and one died at the scene. A second patient was transported to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with serious injuries. Incident is ongoing, and updates will be posted as they become available.

UPDATE 12:37PM: Per the Suffolk County DA's office, the passenger of the vehicle, a 22 year old Needham man, was killed. The driver of the vehicle, also a 22 year old man from Needham, remains in critical condition at Beth Israel.

Two shot on Favre Street in Mattapan

Boston Police and EMS responded to 16 Favre Street for a report of two people shot at around 11:00 PM tonight. One victim was transported to Brigham & Women's Hospital with 5 gunshot wounds, all to the arms and legs. His wounds were not considered to be life-threatening. The condition of the second victim is not known.
Stanley Staco reports that the shooter fled on foot, and was last seen jumping over a fence in the backyard at 8 Brockton Street.

Serious injuries after 18 wheeler rollover on highway in Wareham

Police, fire, and EMS responded Monday night to a tractor-trailer rollover at the intersection of I-195 and I-495. Jaws of life had to be used to free two people from the cab of the semi truck. At least one person was seriously injured, and Boston Medflight was requested. Med 1 landed on the highway at the scene and flew one victim to Beth Israel Deaconess medical center in Boston. Lanes remain closed as the Massachusetts State Police Collision & Accident Reconstruction Team (CART) investigates the accident.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Man struck and killed by train in West Bridgewater

A man was struck and killed by a MBTA Commuter Rail train near West St in West Bridgewater Monday evening. More details will be posted as they become available.

UPDATE 8:48PM: Enterprise News article with a little bit more info.

Boston C-Med System

I had been considering doing a blog post on C-Med for a while now, so when I received an email today with some questions about it, I figured now is as good a time as any.

At the most basic, C-Med is a statewide system used by ambulances to communicate patient information with the receiving hospital. The Massachusetts C-Med system is divided among five control centers throughout the state. Each system uses the same frequencies, but different PL tones. The frequencies and tones can be found here.

The basic system is made up of eight channels, each consisting of two frequencies. One frequency is used by the hospital, and the other, by the ambulance. The "hospital" side is repeated, so you will be able to hear that throughout the region, but the ambulance side can only be heard if you are within a few miles of the ambulance itself. The exception to this for Boston C-Med are Med-4 and Med-8, both of which have the ambulance side repeated on the hospital frequency. In other words, you can hear both sides of the traffic on the hospital frequency for Med-4 and Med-8. Medical helicopters also use the C-Med system, so you can often hear them on the ambulance side from a good distance away, due to their elevation.

Med-4 is the "hailing" channel, and is used to contact the control center and receive a channel assignment. A typical C-Med conversation runs something like this (for this example, we'll say you are close enough to the ambulance to receive their side clearly):

Ambulance on 463.075: Boston C-Med, Boston C-Med, this is Fallon Paramedic 104 with an ALS entry note for Brigham & Women's hospital, currently on 93 south of the city.

C-Med dispatcher on 463.075: Fallon, switch to Med-5 for Brigham & Women's.

C-Med dispatcher on 463.100: Brigham & Women's, this is C-Med, I have Fallon online with an entry note.

Hospital on 463.100: Go ahead, Fallon.

Ambulance on 468.100: Brigham & Women's, this is Fallon Paramedic 104, currently 11 minutes out from your facility with a 44 year old woman involved in a head on MVA...(Medics will give relevant details, such as vital signs, medications administered, chief complaint, etc)...any questions?

Hospital on 463.100: No questions, see you in 10 minutes in room 3.

The channel will then be released back to C-Med control. All traffic is prioritized based on the nature of the call, and can range from something as small as a BLS entry note, to as serious as a trauma case.

If you want to program Boston C-Med into your scanner, you'll only need to program the hospital frequencies  for Med-4 and Med-8. The other channels you will have to program the hospital and ambulance sides. Listen up to Med-4, and when you hear a call you are interested in, switch to the hospital side of the assigned channel, and once they acknowledge, try the ambulance side to see if you are in range.

The C-Med system also is used for medical control, for instance, if medics need a doctor's permission to administer drugs, or to stop CPR on a non-viable patient.

Corrections or contributions from EMT's, paramedics, or ER staff are more then welcome. Please post to the comments below (I'm sure I messed something up).

Fatal rollover crash on I-95 Southbound in Attleboro

Massachusetts State Police and Attleboro Fire responded to a rollover accident on I-95 southbound in the area of Exit 3 just after 1:00 AM Monday morning. A vehicle was found wrecked into the guardrail. Medflight and MSP accident reconstruction were requested to the scene due to at least one serious injury on scene, and two lanes were blocked. Boston Medflight was not available, due to weather conditions.

UPDATE 10:35AM: The Sun Chronicle reports the driver, a 34 year old Boston man, was killed in the accident.

UPDATE 08/08/2011: MSP has issued a press release identifying the driver:
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Nicholas Canavan indicates that a 1997 Honda Accord being operated by Jean Charles, 34, of Mattapan, was traveling southbound on Route 95 in Attleboro, between Exits 2 and 3, when the vehicle rolled over. Charles was transported by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Person stabbed on Bennington St in East Boston

Police responded to a report of a person stabbed on the Meridan St end of Bennington Street (near Central Square Park) just before 1:00 AM and found a man in his 30's with a stab wound to the stomach. The victim was transported to the hospital by EMS.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Man shot, killed at East Berkeley & Harrison Ave.

Boston Police responded early Saturday morning to the intersection of East Berkeley Street and Harrison Ave for a "shots fired" call. Once on scene, they located a man in his early 30's, suffering from a single gunshot wound. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Boston Police Homicide Unit is actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is strongly encouraged to call the Homicide Unit at (617) 343-4470.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Two pedestrians struck in separate incidents in Manchester

Two pedestrians were stuck in unrelated accidents on Friday. The first happened at 4:19 in the afternoon. From the MPD press release:

On August 5, 2011 at 1619 hours, units from the Manchester Police Department, Manchester Fire Department and American Medical Response responded to the intersection of Elm St and Gas St for a report of a motor vehicle versus pedestrian crash with personal injury. The preliminary investigation reveals that Robert Schlickman 43 YOA from Hooksett, NH was operating his 2002 Chevy Corvette northerly on Elm St when his vehicle struck a pedestrian that was walking alongside the side walk on Elm St past the Red Barn Diner. Linda Hollinrake 54 YOA was transported to the Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH for injuries sustained in the crash via American Medical Response. Hollinrake was treated and released for minor injury and Schlickman was uninjured in the crash.  Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash but speed has not yet been ruled out. The crash is being investigated by the Manchester Police Crash Investigation Unit. Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact Traffic Investigator Greg DiTullio at 668-8711 Ext 479.
A few hours later, another accident sent a pedestrian to the hospital in critical condition:

On August 5, 2011 at 2106 hours the Manchester Police Department, Manchester Fire Department and American Medical Response responded to the intersection of Hanover St and Beech St for a report of a motor vehicle versus pedestrian crash with personal injury. The preliminary investigation reveals that Kevin McGrath, 29 YOA of Auburn, NH was operating his 2001 Hyundai Elantra westerly on Hanover St when his vehicle struck a pedestrian that was walking northerly across the roadway. Derek Wright 29 YOA of Manchester, NH was transported to the Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH for injuries sustained in the crash via American Medical Response. Wright remains at Elliot Hospital in critical condition with a serious head injury and McGrath was uninjured in the crash.  Alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors in the crash. The crash is being investigated by the Manchester Police Crash Investigation Unit. Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact Traffic Investigator Greg DiTullio at 668-8711 Ext 479.