Mayor Walsh said today he agrees with recommendations of a police-accountability task force and will work to set up a new office with a civilian review board that can investigate complaints against police officers - with the power to subpoena both officers and documents.
Walsh said the new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency will be staffed with a full-time lawyer to serve as its executive director, and that the city is starting this week to find candidates. Walsh said this person will also get a budget to hire additional staffers. In addition to the civilian review board, the office will also get an Internal Affairs Oversight Panel to review internal-affairs investigations completed by BPD's own detectives.
We must be a city and a country where every single person receives equal protection and equitable opportunity. We must commit now to transformational, systemic change. This Task Force is led by individuals from Boston's Black and Brown communities who are leaders on Civil Rights; experts on public safety; and activists for racial justice, and I thank them for their tireless work on creating this report. Now it is Boston's charge to take these bold reforms and use the Task Force's recommendations to create a better, more just city.
The mayor continued that he will formally ask the state legislature to amend the civil-service rules that govern BPD hiring to give preference to officer candidates who have graduated from BPS or Metco schools, one of the recommendations by the task force:
Such a preference would have the advantage of both increasing opportunities for diversity within BPD and ensuring the staff of the department have a strong connection to, and deep knowledge of, the local community and diversity of Boston's neighborhoods.
BPD will get a new Diversity and Inclusion unit that will start with "updating [BPD] internal policies to reflect the Department's commitments to equity and bias-free policing
Walsh said he also agreed with the task force to continue to expand the use of body cameras by officers - and to continue to ban the use of facial-recognition and biometrics software.
Boston Police Reform Task Force - page has the task force's complete report to the mayor and background information.
Note: Although the video is titled "Covid-19 Media Availability," it is about the police recommendations.