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Report of the Boston Police Department
Management Review Committee
Submitted to: Mayor Raymond L. Flynn
James D. St. Clair. Esq. Chairman
Ideed, in some respects the present plan may increase tensions with the community by setting a series of false expectations. Moreover, by prematurely adopting the banner of community policing without first completing the necessary training of police officers d supervisors, educating the public, and making technological improvements, the Department has doomed the present plan to ilure. While we fully support the evolving strategy of nmunity policing as it is understood by leading police icutives and recommend it for Boston, we fear that the Department's current effort may do more harm than good.
1. Transition To A New Police Commissioner To Lead The Boston Police Department
While we are impressed by Commissioner Roache's commitment to City of Boston, we have found serious problems with his iership style and managerial skills. We believe that Boston is a new leader to implement major changes in its police irtment. Therefore, we recommend that a new Police lissioner be appointed when Commissioner Roache's current term expires in April 1992. A search should begin immediately for an rienced police executive capable of providing leadership and on to the Boston Police Department. While we considered other ibie remedies short of a new Police Commissioner, given the dth and depth of the problems in the Department, we have...FAe new commissioner must develop a comprehensive strategic in for policing Boston in the 1990s, including the reform of internal Affairs and the implementation of community policing, wided that the new Commissioner possesses the requisite experience and managerial skills to operate an urban police lartment, we believe that he or she will enhance coordination communication within the Department and develop a coherent set operational policies.
Further, the transition to a new missioner will reinvigorate the sagging morale within the artment and demonstrate to the community that the Department is mitted to meaningful change.
The Committee fully recognizes a few specialized units within Department, such as the Sexual Assaults Unit, the Community
arders Unit, and the Fleet Maintenance Division, enjoy national reputations for excellence. It is our sincere hope that the smmendations contained herein, together with a new Police Commissioner, will lead to the entire Department achieving similar national recognition.
2. Impose Requirement of Minimum Civil Service Rank For Command Staff
The Department should implement a minimum civil service rank .irement of Lieutenant for membership on the Command Staff. change will help ensure that the best and brightest are sluded that new leadership at the top is required to bring it the necessary changes and restore public confidence.
The new Commissioner must develop a comprehensive strategic for policing Boston in the 1990s, including the reform of 'rnal Affairs and the implementation of community policing. 'ided that the new Commissioner possesses the requisite experience and managerial skills to operate an urban police Department, we believe that he or she will enhance coordination communication within the Department and develop a coherent set iperational policies. Further, the transition to a new lissioner will reinvigorate the sagging morale within the irtment and demonstrate to the community that the Department is litted to meaningful change.
The Committee fully recognizes a few specialized units within Department, such as the Sexual Assaults Unit, the Community Unit, and the Fleet Maintenance Division, enjoy national citations for excellence. It is our sincere hope that the
mimendations contained herein, together with a new Police lissioner, will lead to the entire Department achieving similar national recognition.
2. Impose Requirement of Minimum Civil Service Rank For Command Staff
The Department should implement a minimum civil service rank lirement of Lieutenant for membership on the Command Staff. This change will help ensure that the best and brightest...
We hope that this Report will contribute to that assessment begin the discussion about how to transform the Department m the incident-based policing of today to the problem solving munity policing of the future.
1. The New Commissioner Should Create A Centralized Strategic Planning Unit And Work With It To Develop A Comprehensive Long Term Strategic Plan For The Entire Department
2. Once The Strategic Plan Is Developed, Efforts Should Be Made To Communicate Effectively The New Strategy To All Levels Within the Department And To The Public
3. The Department Should Increase The Resources It Devotes To Research And Planning So That The Commissioner, The Command Staff, And All Boston Police Officers Have the Information Necessary To Engage In Problem-Solving In An Informed and Coordinated Manner
Developing a vision and strategy for the Department, together h creating a specialized unit devoted to strategic planning on ongoing basis, will serve several important purposes. First, will inform police officers and City residents where the >artment is headed and how it intends to get there.
Second, strategic planning will allow the Department to 'sent the Mayor, the City Council, and the public with long ige plans and goals, allowing more informed and intelligent ;isions concerning the resources needed to achieve those goals. lally, developing values and a comprehensive strategy will help a public understand the aspirations and direction of the
Department. By stating its values and strategy, the Department an win public support, help establish the terms on which the epartment would like to be held accountable, and enlist the aid f the public in helping Department leadership make the changes it esires. New Department programs and initiatives could then be eveloped--and viewed by the public--as part of a comprehensive trategy rather than as rushed, piecemeal reactions to a articular crisis.
In recent years, the Department has begun developing its apacity to gather -and analyze crime data and then implement articular strategies for particular neighborhoods. With more and etter resources, we believe much more could be done. Community-riented policing stresses problem-solving rather than merely eacting to calls for service as isolated incidents. The epartment's strategic planning unit should play an important role n this new problem solving-approach. To be effective, the unit ust be equipped with the resources--personnel, data processing quipment, and access to information--necessary to bring analytic ower to bear in ways most useful to the police officers on the treet. Its work should be customized not only for different
problems, but for different clients within the Department, from the Commissioner down to individual patrol officers.
Further, once the new community policing strategy is under way, the strategic planning unit should serve as a clearinghouse for problem-solving knowledge and resources. The unit should op ways to learn from the Department's experience with em-solving, collecting and disseminating information about sses and failures to officers who need to know. It could compile a database, or databases, of useful resources: contact people in City agencies; private sector and university with particular expertise and resources; residents and ;nity groups the police can go to for help in particular iborhoods; officers working on similar problems in Boston and other cities; and so forth. Overall, as the Department comes to
much more heavily on knowledge and information-drivencpolicing, the strategic planning unit should adapt to provide the information and services this new approach will require.
CHAPTER 4: COMMUNITY AMD PROBLEM SOLVING POLICING
I. Overview o£ Community Policing
The Committee strongly recommends that the Boston Police department take immediate measures to begin a comprehensive shift bo a community and problem solving policing strategy. After lumerous discussions with community policing experts,^ it is ;lear to the Committee that this concept, if implemented properly, :an help to restore community faith and trust in the Boston Police )Department. . Whi'le we applaud Commissioner Roache's zyscent ;ommitment to community policing, we find the approach incomplete ind superficial, and lacking the problem solving component that is issential to making effective responses to crime and other ;ommunity'concerns.
We call, instead, for thoroughgoing change--strategic, organizational, administrative, and tactical--that affects not just a few units or a few officers but the entire Department. We *xpect this change to be good for the Department, good for the City, and, therefore, good for the members of the Boston Community.
(The Committee would like to acknowledge and thank Malcolm Sparrow, Mark Moore, and David Kennedy, authors of Beyond 911, A new Era for Policing, (Basic Books, 1990) for their valuable insights into the trend toward community policing nationwide. )ther experts consulted included: Chief William Bratton» commissioner Lee Brown, Professor George Kelling, and Robert Wasserman).
Because the Committee strongly believes that a genuine community policing strategy should be implemented in Boston, the community policing is recurring throughout the chapters iis Report. And, while we anticipate that community and .em solving policing will, in fact, lead to a Boston Police Department that is more tolerant, more accessible, and more outstanding of the people of Boston, we underscore here that we this recommendation not in the name of community relations .n the name of community safety. We expect a well-executed lition to a community and problem solving strategy to lead to
Boston Police Department that does, first and foremost, a better of policing.
We would not call for such change if we thought that the »nt strategy of the Department was successful, or could be to be successful. That strategy, like that of (until itly) most modern police departments, is based primarily on ise of three core tactics--patrol, rapid response, and ;tive investigation. We do not believe that these tactics can sed, or that the goal of crime control, at least as the rtment currently understands it, is a complete and adequate sment of the police mission. The Department needs both a 3er range of approaches and a broader sense of its role in the City.
We believe that the problem is not primarily police strength, it rather the Department's basic approach. Both police
*ofessionals and academic students of policing have in recent sars developed serious doubts that traditional police tactics, no itter how efficiently and professionally pursued, are likely to » very effective against either crime or other community mcerns. Controlled experiments and police experience alike iggest that patrol--at least at a level the City can afford--does
.tfle either to prevent crime or reassure the public; there are ' *r
*mply not' enough officers around to make much of a difference.
Rapid response rarely fulfills its crime-fighting promise 'cause only in a very small proportion of dispatched calls--less ian five percent, in most cities--do officers have a chance to itervene or make an arrest. In the other instances, they arrive >o late to do anything more than take reports and perhaps comfort
*ctims. Investigating serious crimes is clearly important but it > by definition reactive; what the public wants is crime
Perhaps most important of all, standard police tactics can ive little impact on the disorder and fear of crime that we find 3st concern Boston's more troubled communities. When shots are. iing fired regularly in the common areas of housing projects^ the looters, the police, and terrified residents alike know that ailing 9-1-1 will not put a stop to it. When a street is plagued
*ug dealers or gang members, arrest has small long-term value all sides know that there is little chance that significant time will result. Traditional policing practiced with the intention in the world is not enough to handle such problems.
;hing better is needed. Community policing (and problem solving policing, which we
.der part of the same concept) is, we are convinced, something
*r. The new strategy of policing it represents is an attempt .ve the police new and more effective tools to deal not only crime but also with disorder, fear, and other important Lc concerns. Perhaps most important, despite what many both id outside the Department think, community policing is not : social work and public relations. Community policing is a irent approach--and we believe a more powerful, more effective >ach--to dealing with the toughest and most important problems
*ime, order, and community safety. Community policing is not soft on crime or on criminals.
* arrest is the best tactic to use against a particular
Lem, arrests will be made. Community policing is simply a way
landing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Boston and
ig common cause against the people and conditions that
aten our City. The Boston Police Department is swamped with
', the City is troubled--in some neighborhoods desperately
sled--by crime, drugs, violence and fear. Community policing
fers new hope, new help, and new tools. It is not a retreat om the Department's ideals. In city after city across the untry, it has helped turn around neighborhoods and solve oblems traditional policing could not. In embracing it, the opie and police of Boston will reaffirm their commitment to ing their best for the City and for each other.
The ideas behind community policing and problem solving licing turn out to be simple ones. The core idea behind nmunity policing is simply that the police should pay close tention to what the public wants, and, where appropriate, find ys to work in partnership with communities to do those various as. Some police work will remain much as before; community Licing or not, when the Department receives a call that is a ie emergency, it will continue to make a rapid and effective sponse.
However, most of the public's problems are not true »rgencies. The Boston neighborhoods that suffer from gangs know )m day to day and month to month that they have a gang problem;
*y when the shots are finally fired does the emergency begin, I then it is usually too late. Boston neighborhoods that suffer >m disorder and decay know it, and know also that left unchecked »lic drinking, abandoned cars, and empty buildings breed crime I fear. Battered spouses, victimi2ed gays, and women who have leave work late at night often know when they are at risk, or
n they feel less safe--or more in danger--than they are ustomed to feeling, and they want something done, if at all sible, before the battering, the hate crime, the rape takes =e.
Even lesser issues like parking problems, dangerous srsections, and troublesome neighbors can make an important Eerence in the quality of community life, and very often the Lie looks to the police for help with such matters. It is for 3 reason, that virtually every community group we talked with iesperately wanted foot patrol officers. The public pines for ^gone day--perhaps an idealized one--when a local officer knew community, understood its problems and concerns, and was wered to act on them, preferably before they spiralled out of ;rol. We do not necessarily think that foot patrol is (or ever l the ideal approach for policing every part of the City, but mderstand and endorse the impulse for a closer, more robust, more preventive relationship between the police and the .ic.
Abandoned cars and broken streetlights are normally low on list of police priorities, which is perhaps as it should be if neighborhood iji question is otherwise secure and untroubled. if residents want help with them, there are at least three sons the police might want to pitch in, either directly or by >ing coordinate the actions of other city agencies. One is
.rnply because the residents want them to, and their views as .tizens and taxpayers are to be respected. Another is because ie residents may accurately sense that the neighborhood is at sk, that today's nuisances will become tomorrow's serious imes, and justifiably want police help in making a clear .atement that the decline will be halted and reversed. Still lother is that where the police and the public are not yet ready > form a partnership against tough crime issues, it may still be issible to take on safer matters.
The Committee learned that many community policing victories i deeply troubled communities have begun with police-public irtnerships against relative nuisances. Public order is iproved, working relationships established, trust created, and ^entually the partners can move on to more difficult and serious isiness. Those more ambitious partnerships can accomplish ctraordinary things.
An example of how community policing at its best can work is i Houston. Police, using traditional methods of policing, had bruggled uselessly for years with the Link Valley drug market, :iich had taken over the streets and buildings of a six-block area Ef a major freeway in the heart of the city. Dealers had many a errible mess of the area's buildings and open spaces. Houston olice made hundreds of arrests every year without making any dent