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Boston Police Reform Task Force Recommends Improved Diversity, Expanded Body Cam Use, Independent Oversight

BOSTON (CBS) - Three months after racism was declared a public health crisis in Boston, a task force charged with looking into potential reforms within the Boston Police Department has released its recommendations.

The task force is led by former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd and is comprised of police officers, clergy, community leaders and attorneys.

The 11-member group was assigned to review police policies and procedures this summer after people in Boston and around the country protested police brutality, including the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

"This has always been more than about about more than just a moment. It's about process of change," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said, speaking outside of City Hall Thursday.

Among the key recommendations from the task force:

  • Creating an independent Office of Police Accountability and Transparency
  • Strengthening diversity in the police department
  • Expanding the use of body-worn cameras by police
  • Enhancing Use of Force policies
  • Adopting transparent data and records practices

"Systemic racism kills and destroys trust and hope," Mayor Walsh said. "The new levels of passion this movement for justice inspired us to listen and work more urgently."

"Anyone who wanted to share their views were heard," he added. "They got written testimony from the public. They researched the issues and their history, and they talked to experts and activists, working both in Boston and in other cities around the United States of America."

"As we talk about police reform. I like to remember we're talking about human beings who do a very difficult, dangerous job," Walsh added.

The Task Force is hosting a final listening session on September 22 to hear feedback from the public about these initial recommendations.

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