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Boston Police Department Update on Police Reform

Police Commissioner Michael Cox would like to share some steps taken, large and small, to advance police professionalism and reform in the City of Boston in his first six months.

The Boston Police Department (BPD) is committed to:

  • building trust through community engagement and collaboration
  • sharing data, policy changes, and information, and
  • continuously improving all aspects of policing.

We will continue to keep the community updated on this important work.

Community Outreach and Engagement
  • Since his appointment Commissioner Cox has emphasized the need for officers to engage with the community during Code 19s and during other proactive outreach.  
  • A new LGBTQ+ resources page was added to BPDNEWS in October, 2022.  
  • BRIC presented two threat assessment briefings for the LGBTQ community – one in December 2022 geared towards restaurants and night clubs, and one in January 2023 geared toward hospitals and health care centers.  More briefings are planned.
  • BPD is currently in the hiring process for a Diversity Recruitment Officer.
  • BPD is currently in the hiring process for 60 Police Cadets. 
  • Members of the BPD’s internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee are participating in interviews with consultants hired by OPAT to make recommendations regarding treatment of BIPOC employees and diversifying the department.
  • The two-hour refresher ABLE course is being taught in this year’s in-service training. This is a follow up to the eight hours of training taught in last year’s in-service training.  ABLE (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) training seeks to prepare officers to successfully intervene to prevent harm and to create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention.  
  • A training bulletin on ABLE as well as duty to intervene and prioritization de-escalation was issued in February. 
  • BPD is partnering with ROCA to bring Rewire4 training to the Department.  Rewire4 is a Cognitive Behavioral Skill Based Practice designed specifically for Police Officers in the field. It gives police methods, skills and tools they can use when they are out on the street responding to people and events in real time. It helps officers understand the brain science and trauma that results in the need to intervene and methods to effectively intervene.  BPD is implementing the train-the-trainer program with a goal of training all officers.
  • Training bulletin issued in February 2023 regarding the Massachusetts Peace Officer Training and Standards (POST) Commission’s “Guidance on Developmentally Appropriate De-escalation and Disengagement Tactics, Techniques and Procedures and Other Alternatives to the Use of Force for Minor Children.” 
Transparency / Reporting
  • The Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) completed their annual report to the Commissioner per Rule 334 Section 9.  Between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, 167 individuals were added to the BPD Gang Assessment Database and 1,836 individuals were removed. 
  • BPD submitted the annual U and T Visa report to the MA Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.  These are visas for undocumented crime victims. Please see Rule 336 U and T Visa Certification Policy for additional information. In 2022 68 individuals requested nonimmigrant status certification; 52 were completed, 11 were denied and 5 are still pending. This is an increase in requests from last year.  We believe this is attributable to improved outreach, including BPD representatives presenting at Immigrants Lead Boston. 
  • BPD worked with DoIT to update the Homicide Clearance rate, In-custody deaths, BEST and YouthConnect dashboards to reflect end of the year data. 
  • 2022 Field Interaction/Observation/Encounter (“FIOE”) Report data has been uploaded to Analyze Boston, and the  FIOE dashboard will be updated shortly.
  • The BPD’s Civil Rights Unit reported information on antisemitic incidents that took place in Boston in 2022 to the Anti-Defamation League to be included in their annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents.  This is a new practice of the unit.


  • In September 2022, the BPD completed the extensive and time-consuming POST Commission recertification process for 800+ veteran officers with last names beginning with A-H.  For those officers who were on leave at the time of recertification they will have 90 days upon return to complete outstanding in-service training and POST questionnaire/interview with their supervisor.   BPD is currently working on the certification process for the next batch of veteran officers I-P.  
  • Recruits who enter the BPD Academy now undergo the POST certification process which includes additional steps in the background check as well a POST questionnaire/interview. The next recruit class is slated to start in April.
  • All complaints received by the Internal Affairs Division are forwarded to the POST Commission within 48 hours.  At the conclusion of investigations all findings are forwarded to POST.

OPAT:  BPD continues to provide OPAT with information and materials related to investigations relative to complaints that they receive directly from the public as well as providing completed BPD Internal Affairs investigations for review.  BPD continues to provide data and information as requested.

Policies and Procedures
Systems Improvements
  • BPD added a new Event Statistic (drop-down box) in our records management system Mark 43 to track Section 12s and Section 35s (applications for involuntary hospitalization issued by agencies outside of the Boston Police Department) in September 2022.  
  • BPD added a new Event Statistic (drop-down box) in our records management system Mark 43 to track Contaminated Drinks in January 2023.
  • The Use of Force Tracking Form was amended in January 2023 improve timeliness and completeness of investigations. 
  • BPD issued clarifying officer responsibility while on Medical Leave in January 2023.  This will assist efforts to get officers back to work as efficiently as possible.
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