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Mayor Walsh announces co-op board appointments

The civilian board has oversight and review of BPD internal investigations. 

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the appointment of Professor Natashia Tidwell, J. Larry Mayes, and Judge Regina Quinlan to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP) and Complaint Mediation Program. The appointed three member civilian board will provide external oversight and review of Boston Police Department (BPD) internal investigations, creating more public accountability for allegations of police misconduct, and growing the trust between BPD and the community. The appointments are for a three year term.

“Police-community relations are the backbone of public safety in our neighborhoods, where trust drives outcomes. The CO-OP board creates a mechanism for external review of complaints against police,” said Mayor Walsh. “Professor Tidwell, Mr. Mayes, and Judge Quinlan, have proven track records in law enforcement, criminal justice, and community leadership, and will be reliable assets to this review process.”

“I am thankful to Mayor Walsh for the opportunity to continue serving the city of Boston in this important role.  I look forward to working with Judge Quinlan and Larry Mayes to provide the community with an oversight mechanism that instills trust and confidence in the internal affairs process and the police department as a whole,” said Professor Tidwell.

"I'm honored that Mayor Walsh has selected me to work on an issue that means so much to him and all of Boston. There is much hard work ahead, but I look forward to working with colleagues Natashia Tidwell and Judge Regina Quinlan to make the CO - OP a national standard for community and government relations," said J. Larry Mayes.

“It is a privilege and a challenge to be appointed to this board. I look forward to serving,” said the Honorable Regina Quinlan.

The CO-OP’s function is to be an outside, unbiased party that will review completed BPD Internal Affairs (IA) investigations and appealed investigations for thoroughness and fairness. The members will have access to all investigation materials related to the case they are reviewing. If a case requires clarification, the panel will send an inquiry to BPD IA to request additional investigation. If after taking that step the CO-OP disagrees with the decision of IA, a recommendation will be made to the Police Commissioner. The CO-OP will review a random sampling of cases and appeals that are non-sustained, exonerated, or unfounded, including those involving allegations of serious misconduct and justified use of force, and all appeal cases filed within 14 days of an internal investigation finding.

The panel will also periodically review policies and procedures of the internal affairs process and its integrity, and produce an annual report to the Mayor and the Police Commissioner documenting cases reviewed and the outcome of the Panel’s review for each casel. The CO-OP panel was established by Mayor Thomas M. Menino in 2007.

Natashia Tidwell

Natashia Tidwell is an associate professor at New England Law | Boston where she teaches courses in Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and The Wire: Policing in Urban Communities.  She began her career in public service as a police officer in Cambridge, MA.  As a patrol officer, Professor Tidwell served as a school resource officer at Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School.  Upon her promotion to sergeant, Professor Tidwell worked as a patrol supervisor and as an investigator in the Internal Affairs Unit.  In 2003, she became the first female lieutenant in the department’s history.

Professor Tidwell’s legal career began in Washington, DC, where she served as a trial attorney in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice.  While there, she prosecuted and supervised investigations of police perjury, judicial bribery, and other allegations of misconduct by public officials and government employees.  She returned to Boston in 2007 as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Organized Crime Strike Force.  As an AUSA, Professor Tidwell prosecuted members of Mafia syndicates and other criminal enterprises in cases involving illegal gambling, racketeering, loan-sharking, and other traditional organized crime-related activities.   

J. Larry Mayes

J. Larry Mayes has over a decade of experience working with government officials, elected officials, and community leaders, with a focus on driving community change. Mayes has currently held the position of Vice President of Programs for Catholic Charities since 2010, during which time he has been active in supporting teen and adult education, developing new poverty strategies, and working with the legislature on securing funding for child care facilities and advocating for the state minimum wage increase.

Mayes served as the Cabinet Chief of Human Services under the Menino Administration from 2004 to 2010. In that role he led joint government/community based initiatives to reduce crime and stabilize communities, launched a campaign to counter “Stop Snitching” sentiment, and expanded access to summer programming for youth.

Mayes has served on the boards of several human services organizations, including Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, The Greater Boston Food Bank, and Tenacity.

Judge Regina Quinlan

Regina L. Quinlan is a Brighton native and graduate of Regis College and Suffolk University Law School.  After passing the bar exam in 1973, Judge Quinlan became a Partner at O’Connell Welch & Quinlan, specializing in First Amendment cases.  She was also an Instructor at the New England School of Law from 1975-1976.  In 1992, former Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld appointed Judge Quinlan to the bench as an associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, where she served for 20 years until her retirement in 2012. She held a visiting professorship at Boston College Law School from 2012 to 2014. Judge Quinlan is currently one of five members of the State Ethics Commission.

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