Boston Police Task Force holding series of listening sessions
Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Police Reform Task Force today announced a series of listening sessions to gather community feedback related to police reform in four areas: implicit bias training, body worn cameras, Boston's existing police review board, and use of force policies. This input will guide the Task Force as it performs its duties of reviewing the Boston Police Department's policies and practices and recommending reform measures.
"We're going to provide opportunities for robust public input and community leadership in our work to advance racial justice in Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "I've pledged to continue the conversation on racism as a city--not in a top-down manner, but by centering the voices of the Black and Brown communities who have been the most severely impacted. That is the purpose of the Boston Police Reform Task Force that we have appointed."
Last month, Mayor Walsh signed the "Mayor's Pledge" issued by the Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Alliance as one of the strategies to address racism as an emergency and public health crisis. The Mayor committed the City of Boston to review police use of force policies; engage communities by including a diverse range of input experiences and stories; report review findings to the community and seek feedback; and reform police use of force policies. The Boston Police Reform Task Force is composed of members from the community, law enforcement, advocacy organizations, and the legal profession, to ensure that these commitments are translated to actions.
Community engagement is an important aspect of the Boston Police Reform Task Force's strategy to gather information that accurately reflects the needs of the City and make effective recommendations for police reform. Hosting these community conversations to collect testimony from members of the public will help to better inform their work. At the end of these sessions, the Task Force will submit their initial recommendations by August 14, 2020. Those recommendations will have a two-week public comment period before the final recommendations are submitted to Mayor Walsh no later by September 14, 2020.
"An important part of our work as a task force on police reform is to hear the thoughts and ideas from those served by the Boston Police Department," said Chairman of the Boston Police Reform Task Force Wayne Budd. "The Task Force members strongly believe that this community input will be of invaluable assistance as we formulate our recommendations on police reform to Mayor Walsh."
Residents are encouraged to share their experiences on any of the four topics being covered:
- The Body Worn Camera Program: Wednesday, July 22, 3 - 5 p.m.
- Implicit bias training: Thursday, July 23, 3 - 5 p.m.
- Strengthening Boston's existing police review board, known as the Co-op Board: Wednesday, July 29, 3 - 5 p.m.
- Reviewing the use of force policies: Thursday, July 30, 3 - 5 p.m.
Anyone can join the WebEx meeting on the date and time as an attendee to view and listen to the listening session. Testimony will be accepted in any language (written or spoken via WebEx listening sessions). It will be translated and shared with the Task Force after the sessions. Written testimony may be submitted prior to or after the listening sessions via our Google Form. This testimony will be compiled and shared with the Task Force, and will be translated as needed.
All attendees who wish to provide spoken testimony during one or more of the listening sessions must indicate this using the same Google Form, no later than 24-hours in advance of a session. Their name will be added to a list of those wishing to speak, and they will be called on, in turn, during the session.
Members of the Boston Police Task Force include: Chairman Wayne Budd, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; Allison Cartwright, Attorney in Charge at the Roxbury Public Defender's Office; Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts; Tanisha Sullivan, President of the NAACP Boston Branch; Darrin Howell, President of DRIVE Boston Community Resources Inc. & Political Coordinator for 1199SEIU; Boston Police Superintendent Dennis White, Chief of Staff; Marie St. Fleur, former Massachusetts State Representative; Rev. Jeffrey Brown, Associate Pastor at the Historic Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury; Boston Police Sergeant Eddy Chrispin, President of the MA Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, Inc.; Javier Flores, Partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLPand Jamarhl Crawford, Boston resident.
The Boston Police Department has recently reviewed their Use-of-Force policies and procedures, and implemented recommendations by 8 Can't Wait and the Ethical Policing is Courageous (EPIC) Peer Intervention Program into their existing rules.