Boston Police Reform Task Force
The Task Force was charged with reviewing a set of current Boston Police Department policies and procedures, and presenting recommendations for action and reform. Former Mayor Martin J. Walsh accepted the full recommendations of the Task Force in October 2020.
On June 12, then Mayor Walsh signed on to the Mayor’s Pledge issued by the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, which commits to the following actions:
- Review police use of force policies and procedures
- Engage communities by including a diverse range of input, experiences and stories
- Report review findings to the community and seek feedback
- Reform police use of force policies
As part of this pledge to turn commitments into action, the former Mayor convened the Boston Police Reform Task Force. Task Force members are charged with reviewing the Boston Police Department’s current policies and procedures within 60 days, and then presenting recommendations for reform. The main areas of their review include:
As part of their review, the Task Force was charged with engaging the community, and listening to a broad range of input, expertise, and experience. The Task Force members are accepting written testimony, and also held four public listening sessions, between July 23 - July 30, to engage residents and seek public input.
The public listening sessions focused on the areas of the Body-worn Camera Policy, Implicit Bias Training, the Co-Op Board, and the Use of the Force. Recordings of these sessions are available below.
Members of the public can also submit written testimony in any language to the Task Force members for their consideration. Please continue to submit any thoughts, insights, or ideas using the Google Forms below until August 7:
The Task Force hosted a final public listening session on Tuesday, September 22, at 4 p.m. to seek input on their initial recommendations.
The Task Force encourages you to please submit written comments or feedback on the initial recommendations, in any language, using the multilingual Google forms below. Written comments will be accepted for a two-week period, from September 14 - 25.
Actions takenActions taken
On June 8, 2021, the Boston Police Department (BPD) issued a revised Gang Assessment Database rule. In addition, the BPD has made several other policy changes related to police reform over the past three months. These policy changes were included in a lengthy update to the public on police reform efforts on May 25.
The Boston Police Department worked with former Mayor Walsh’s administration on implementation of Task Force recommendations, as well as prepared for sweeping reform based on the new Police Reform Bill. You can read their Police Reform Bill update letter.
The Mayor's Police Reform Task Force recommended that the Boston Police Department maintain the ban on biometrics and facial recognition technology (Recommendation 3.07). On June 30, then Mayor Walsh signed 16-62 Ordinance Banning Face Surveillance Technology in Boston, following its unanimous passage by the Boston City Council. Though no City of Boston agencies at the time used facial recognition technology, including the Police Department, this ordinance sets an important precedent for protecting the community from potential racial bias perpetuated by this type of technology, and adheres to the recommendations set forth by this Task Force.
We have initiated the formal process for creating an Executive Director position. This person will play a pivotal role in helping create and lead the future Office of Police Accountability and Transparency. Per the Task Force's recommendations, the Executive Director should:
- be a member of the Massachusetts bar, but shall not practice law while serving their term
- have strong managerial experience
- live in the City of Boston for the entirety of their term, and
- have experience in public policy and working with a diversity of stakeholders.
We're now accepting applications for this job opportunity. Follow the link below:
On November 12, within 30 days of accepting the Task Force's final recommendations, former Mayor Walsh announced that he would move forward with the creation of a new independent Office of Police Accountability and Transparency. An ordinance was filed to create this office at the Boston City Council on November 16.
Filed a Home Rule Petition to enact Civil Service reforms at the Boston Police Department to create a new preference for residents who graduated from Boston secondary schools. This is a key step in growing pipelines for diverse and local talent within the Department. If passed by the Boston City Council, the home rule petition will then go to the Massachusetts State House, where it must also be passed, pursuant to State law.
Signed the final version of the Home Rule Petition, which was passed on December 16, 2020, by the Boston City Council.
On November 12, within 30 days of accepting the Task Force's final recommendations, former Mayor Walsh signed an Executive Order to create Boston’s first Civilian Review Board of this kind. The nine-member board will be made up of community members nominated by the City Council and the Mayor’s Office.
On November 12, within 30 days of accepting the Task Force's final recommendations, then Mayor Walsh signed an Executive Order to reconstitute Boston’s Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP) and transform it into a stronger Internal Affairs Oversight Panel (IAOP). This panel will have the power to review all completed Internal Affairs cases, the policies and procedures of Internal Affairs, as well as engage with the community about their impact.
On January 4, within 90-days of receiving the Task Force's recommendations, former Mayor Walsh signed an ordinance establishing the new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency. The ordinance codifies the Civilian Review Board and Internal Affairs Oversight Panel, which were previously enacted through executive orders in November. The central recommendation of the Boston Police Reform Task Force was the creation of the:
- Office of Police Accountability and Transparency
- Civilian Review Board, and
- Internal Affairs Oversight Panel.
Through these actions, the City of Boston has created an unprecedented level of independent oversight and community input.
Task Force members
- Chairman Wayne Budd, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
- Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Associate Pastor, Historic Twelfth Baptist Church, Roxbury
- Allison S. Cartwright, Attorney in Charge, Roxbury Defender's Office
- Eddy Chrispin, Sergeant, Boston Police Department and President, MA Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, Inc.
- Jamarhl Crawford, Boston resident
- Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts
- Javier Flores, Partner, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP
- Darrin Howell, President, DRIVE Boston Community Resources Inc. & Political Coordinator, 1199SEIU
- Marie St. Fleur, former MA State Representative, Boston
- Tanisha M. Sullivan, Esq. President, NAACP Boston Branch
- Superintendent Dennis White, Chief of Staff, Boston Police Department