Mayor Walsh files home rule petition to enact civil service reforms at the Boston Police
Mayor Martin J. Walsh has filed a home rule petition at the Boston City Council: "Petition for a Special Law Re: Hiring Preference for Boston Resident-Graduates for the Boston Police Department." This special act would amend the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Civil Service rules that govern police department hiring by establishing a new preference for Boston residents who graduated from the Boston Public Schools, Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), schools in the Boston Compact, which includes charter and parochial schools, or other high schools in Boston. This home rule petition is part of reforms recommended by the Boston Police Reform Task Force, which submitted their final recommendations last week.
"Boston is committed to systemic change to ensure the Boston Police Department promotes equity and justice for all Boston residents, and we are moving swiftly to enact the Boston Police Reform Task Force's recommendations." said Mayor Walsh. "This home rule petition will give Boston school graduates the opportunity to join the Boston Police Department, and provide a pathway for more of our residents to serve their communities."
This change will build on the success of Boston's Police Cadet program by developing a new pipeline for diverse Boston residents into law enforcement careers. Existing state law provides preferences for disabled veterans, veterans and the widows or widowed mothers of veterans. This special act will create a new preference category for Boston Police candidates who graduated from any public or private secondary school located in Boston or from any secondary school as a participant in the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program, and who was a Boston resident at the time of graduation from high school.
In 2015, Mayor Walsh reinstated the Boston Police Cadet Program, which has successfully grown Boston's pipeline of diverse talent. In the Boston Police Department, 63 percent of cadets have been people of color, from Boston's Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American communities. The percentage of female cadets has steadily increased, and the 2019 cohort of cadets was exactly 50 percent female. In June, 108 new Boston Police graduated from the Academy. The class had 32 women. About 21 percent of the class is African American, nearly 16 percent Latino and 4 percent Asian. Collectively, they speak a total of 11 languages.
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. The full recommendations of the Boston Police Reform Task Force are available online, and have been translated into five languages.