Almost a year after Boston’s new, independent police watchdog gained the ability to process civilian complaints about officer misconduct, only a handful have made it through the intake process, drawing sharp criticism from some advocates who worry the organization is not operating as designed.
Since the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, or OPAT, was established in early May last year, five complaints of officer misconduct have gone through the organization’s intake process. All of those cases are still pending, meaning the organization has yet to make any recommendations. An additional 10 complaints were lodged but have yet to go through the intake process.
For some advocates, those numbers suggest the organization is falling short of its mission — to investigate complaints of police misconduct in a city of 700,000 — and that more needs to be done to ensure the new watchdog is not a toothless bureaucracy that quietly accepts the status quo.