By Anaridis Rodriguez

BOSTON (CBS) – As legislators slowly return to Beacon Hill, calls for police reform continue to grow.

“The demands begin with a civilian review board, with subpoena power, which we believe is critically important to bring about greater policing accountability,” said Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP.

The civil rights organization has joined forces with several groups, including the ACLU of Massachusetts and Lawyers for Civil Rights, in releasing a list of 10 community demands. Among the requests, removing law enforcement from Boston Public Schools, reducing the Boston Police budget by 15 percent and establishing a statewide standards and training system.

“Massachusetts is one of only six states in the entire country that doesn’t have some form of a process of this type,” Sullivan said. “What we are advocating is for really a shift, in thinking about how we increase public safety through the implementation and deepening of restorative justice practices.”

State Rep. Jon Santiago is a member of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus that has pledged to take decisive action.

Earlier this month, the 14-member council presented a 10-point plan to combat systemic racism and reform law enforcement. Santiago says police officer certification and enhanced training is part of an omnibus bill gaining bi-partisan support.

“For a whole host of people in the Massachusetts economy, whether you’re a barber, an electrician, a doctor like myself, you have certifications in order to practice,” Santiago said. “Many states across the country have this certification process. And if you were to do something like commit a crime or not follow protocol, you could potentially lose your certification.”

In a statement, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the ultimate enactment of this piece of legislation would be the “first step along the long road to ensuring the promise of equal justice for all the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

Santiago said the goal is to have something on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk before July 31st, the end of the legislative term.

“There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of political will. People want to get this done,” said Santiago.

On Thursday, during his daily briefing, Governor Baker admitted that change is needed.

“I hope that everybody at this point understand that there needs to be more transparency and accountability around law enforcement,” Baker said. “I say that as someone who is a big believer and supporter of the law enforcement community.”

Anaridis Rodriguez

  1. I do not think we are moving in the right direction. Changes do need to be made in the police departments of the Commonwealth .However hasty legislation done under duress is not good governance. We need to have careful consideration and deliberation before we create this “Civilian Review Board” giving it judicial powers of “subpoena”. Civilians are just that “civilians”. You want them to sit in judgement of a police officer staring down the barrel of a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson. You want that officer to take that second to think on how a “civilian’ review board will consider his actions.The Legislator that sponsors this bill should be the one that goes to the door and faces the slain officers wife.

    The idea of removing school resource officers is plainly ill considered. Before you decide this as I said take a pause. Why were the officers put there in the first place? Has the situation for their need changed drastically? How about the teachers safety as well as the students? How about the schools that have metal detectors? Who will man them? Every city counselor that votes in support of this measure, what will you do when that first student or teacher dies?

    Good government does not accede to coercion by fringe groups or the mob. Good Government is when you consider the effects of your choices on the electorate. Anything else is anarchy. Anything else is not democracy.

Leave a Reply