Metro

FBI director speaks at ribbon-cutting for new local headquarters in Chelsea

FBI Director James B. Comey spoke at a ribbon-cutting for the agency’s new facility in Chelsea — its first in a stand-alone building for the Boston region’s headquarters.

John Blanding/Globe Staff

FBI Director James B. Comey spoke at a ribbon-cutting for the agency’s new facility in Chelsea — its first in a stand-alone building for the Boston region’s headquarters.

FBI Director James Comey met with area law enforcement officials Tuesday, promising to strengthen partnerships between federal, state, and local authorities.

Comey met with about 40 law enforcement heads from Everett to New Hampshire over lunch before taking part in a ribbon-cutting to announce the opening of a new headquarters in Chelsea for the FBI’s Boston field office, which covers Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

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It is the first time the FBI’s Boston office has been in a stand-alone building, and the first time it has been outside of Boston.

Comey did not take questions from reporters, but Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Boston, said later that the director discussed gang violence, drug trafficking, and terrorism with the local officials and talked about ways the agencies can work together.

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“They were very insightful, the discussions about what’s concerning them most,” said Shaw, adding that the conversation focused on local law enforcement concerns about crimes specific to their communities “and their efforts to stay in front of those threats.”

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, who is head of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association, said the lunch meeting was in the same room in the new building where local police have recently met with FBI agents to discuss law enforcement strategies.

“There are many officers from local agencies that work in [the new FBI building] in different capacities,” Kyes said. “It’s enhancing the level of partnership we have, the spirit of cooperation . . . the sharing of resources and personnel and intelligence and communication.”

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“The FBI has been incredibly supportive of local police in terms of these issues as they pertain to gang violence, drugs, bank robberies, white collar crime and certainly terrorism,” Kyes said.

The new headquarters sits on 5.1 acres on Maple Street. The 220,000-square-foot, eight-story building cost $100 million to construct. The General Services Administration, an independent agency that manages federal workplaces, is leasing the building on behalf of the FBI for $229.4 million over 20 years from Emerald Corporate Center LLC.

The facility includes top security features as well as state-of-the-art research laboratories. Shaw said a regional computer forensics laboratory will be operational by the spring. He called the laboratory a “force multiplier” that will aid FBI and local investigations.

Milton J. Valencia
can be reached at milton.valencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.
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