Boston creates new police accountability panel

January 4, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday signed a new city ordinance that creates an independent board to probe allegations of police misconduct.

The Office of Police Accountability and Transparency will house and support the Civilian Review Board and the Internal Affairs Oversight Panel, which the city in a news release said creates a single point of public access to a new standard in police accountability and community oversight.

“Now is the time to act with urgency to dismantle systemic racism across our city,” Walsh said in a statement. “The Office of Police Accountability and Transparency will support lasting, generational change by rooting out impropriety and ensuring the type of enhanced oversight that leads to greater community trust.”

The oversight agency will be overseen by three commissioners and a lawyer who would serve as the executive director. It will field and review complaints from the public about the police, with subpoena power to investigate police affairs.

The city council last month voted to create the office in a 12-1 vote.

It stems from Walsh’s Boston Police Reform Task Force created in June to review city police policies and procedures as well as recommend reforms in response to a nationwide reckoning over police misconduct and racism.