The Cambridge Police Department has hired a former official of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority to oversee the independent review panel created after the controversy over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Boston Globe reports. Jennifer Flagg, the authority's former chief administrative officer, will be the department's liaison to the panel, a one-year position with a salary of $127,000. Officials said the appointment is an indication of how seriously Cambridge is taking the Gates controversy, which made the city a central character in a national debate about race and police conduct.
Gates, a prominent African-American professor at Harvard, accused the department of racial profiling when he was arrested at his home July 16 after reports of a break-in. “Most cities want to turn the corner and move on,'' said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum and chairman of the review panel. “Cambridge wants to take away something from this that can be helpful for the city and the nation.''