Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will appoint a three-member civilian board to review police misconduct cases, breaking a stalemate over civilian oversight in the Boston Police Department, the Boston Globe reports. Members of the Civilian Review and Mediation Board represent the public, with powers to examine internal police investigations of officers accused of wrongdoing. The board will review all allegations of serious misconduct, such as assault or illegal drug use, that are dismissed by the department’s Internal Affairs Division.
Board members will be paid, part-time ombudsmen who can ask police internal affairs investigators to do further work on complaints and make recommendations to the police commissioner about the disposition of cases. They would not have the power to conduct their own investigations or to issue subpoenas. Community leaders praised plans for the board, which has long been sought by critics who say that police have operated with little accountability. “This is an important step in the process of people having faith in the review of complaints that go to the department,” said Menino, who will begin reviewing candidates immediately.