Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday morning signed an ordinance creating an Office of Police Accountability and Transparency as part of an effort to make systemic change and end racism in Boston.
“We have the best police department in the country and there’s no reason why anyone should be fearful of what we are doing today, what we’re doing today is adding accountability,” said Walsh during the virtual ceremonial signing.
The Office of Police Accountability and Transparency will create a point of public access to a new standard in police accountability and community oversight, according to Walsh.
“This is not the beginning of our work and this is not the end of our work, this is a continuation of our work,” said Walsh.
It codifies two executive orders signed by Mayor Walsh and approved by the Boston City Council in December to create a civilian review board and an internal affairs oversight board.
Police Reform Task Force Chairman Wayne Budd said the office, will “create a single point of entry for residents issuing, and having complaints and would offer an enhanced and strengthened level of civilian input.”
Walsh said Boston can serve as a national model and was the first city to “really respond” to issues with policing.
The new law comes after months of racial reckoning across the country and in Boston during which time police brutality issues were amplified.
Most recently, Boston Police body-cam footage of clashes between officers and protesters when George Floyd demonstrations turned violent this spring prompted an investigation and left one sergeant on leave.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross was present as Walsh signed the ordinance during a virtual ceremony, but did not speak.
Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who is running for mayor, said in a statement, “Creating this office and a true system of civilian oversight is a win for our City and a major step towards eliminating racial disparities in our policing system which are in need of more transparency and accountability.”
Creating this office and a true system of civilian oversight is a win for our City and a major step towards eliminating racial disparities in our policing system which are in need of more transparency and accountability. https://t.co/I89rxCeThv
— Andrea J. Campbell (@andreaforboston) January 4, 2021
She credited advocates who “kept this conversation going for decades, knowing long before the murder of George Floyd that we had tremendous work to do to address racism.”
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