After meetings between the city’s Police Reform Task Force and Boston residents, the group released its initial recommendations to the public Sept. 10, awaiting the mayor’s and City Council’s response. The group is proposing an Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT) to replace the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP), with more power in its departments, as well as expanded rules on body cameras, use of force and more.
Mayor Walsh formed the task force in June, and it was expected to submit recommendations by August 14. Their four listening sessions in July resulted in these five proposals: Create OPAT to review and conduct investigations with subpoena power; expand the Boston Police Department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion; expand the body-worn camera program and continue the ban on facial recognition; add clear consequences for use of force; and adopt more transparent data practices.
“Everybody thinks this is a must-do. Everybody knew the civilian review board had to happen,” said Jamarhl Crawford, one of the eight members of the task force. As an activist, he has advocated for a new civilian review board for over 20 years, he said.