Mayor Walsh Proposes Police Accountability Office, Other Reforms

CBS Boston-2 months before

The proposed office, called the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, would have subpoena power to investigate police misconduct and also support two new community panels Mayor Marty Walsh said he’s creating by executive orders.

The first panel, a 9-member Civilian Review Board, will be ...ade up of mayoral and city council nominees. The other, the Internal Affairs Oversight Panel, which would have the power to review all completed police internal affairs cases, as well as to review the division’s policies and procedures.

The Internal Affairs Oversight Panel would replace the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel, the city’s current police oversight board, which has limited authority to review internal affairs investigations.

Tanisha Sullivan, the President of the NAACP Boston, said the proposals speak to what is possible when people are determined to make change.

“While the mayor has done his part in using his executive authority – his executive pen – we collectively are responsible for making this change,” Sullivan said. “We fully expect that the city, and the BPD, and the Office of Equity will continue to engage with the community to ensure that we are increasing racial justice across our public safety departments.”

The measures were among the key recommendations from a police reform task force Walsh formed in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May. The panel submitted its recommendations last month.

“Our goal is to sustain the urgency of the moment,” Walsh said. “To achieve deep and meaningful change here in Boston; to create a national model for breaking down systemic racism collaboratively with the community.”

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, the city’s first Black top cop, said the new measures would help the department “become a stronger, more equitable force for public safety.”

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