Union Opposition Slows Boston Police Review Board Creation


Nine months after Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole pledged to create a citizen review board to investigate misconduct by officers, the effort is months behind schedule and meeting stiff resistance from police unions, the Boston Globe reports. Northeastern University criminologist Jack McDevitt, who was supposed to make recommendations to O’Toole on the board’s makeup and powers by March, expects to issue his report by the end of next month. McDevitt said researchers have visited several cities to try to find the best model for Boston and have been meeting with police officers, community leaders, and civil rights lawyers who have sued the department. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association advised officers not to take part in the criminologist’s anonymous survey of how officers view the current discipline process, telling them, ”this survey does not serve your interests.”

O’Toole pledged to create the citizen review board after the fatal police shooting last October of 21-year-old Victoria Snelgrove. An independent panel investigating the shooting concluded that Boston has ”relatively little external oversight for a department of its size” and called for formation of the board. ”We strongly feel that a civilian review board will be useless and ineffective unless it is independent and has subpoena power to get witnesses,” said Leonard Alkins, president of the Boston chapter of the NAACP. ”Community policing has lost its effectiveness as a result of the lack of respect that the community has for local law enforcement.”

Link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2005/10/13/launch_of_police_review_running_months_behind/

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