City Council President Requests Hearing Over Ombudsman Oversight Panel’s New Rules

Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell is requesting a hearing to look over the community ombudsman oversight panel.

The community ombudsman oversight panel was created in 2007 as a way for Boston residents to review appeals made with the Boston Police Department over internal investigation cases.

The panel is comprised of independent residents with background with law or criminal justice. It is appointed by the Mayor.

However, according to Campbell the panel previously dealt with a large backlog of cases and according to her hearing order “limited capacity to ensure fair and thorough investigations.”

“They have such an incredible role in the city,” said Campbell of the panel.

Due to these problems, in 2017, Mayor Marty Walsh made changes to the panel by increasing the number of committee members from three to five, along with other changes. Campbell has heard there may be new members since the last time she worked with the panel.

Campbell wants a hearing to learn about the new changes to the panel and if they have been beneficial or not.

“It’s important the public be provided updates,” she said.

Campbell requested a hearing about the new changes earlier, but the hearing never happened so she refiled the motion.

“It is not to create an us versus them scenario or to bash anything or anyone,” she said about the Boston Police Department. She does not plan for the hearing to be an attack, but rather an informational session on the new rules and regulations that have been set in place.

“Effective form and function of this external review board is essential in building trust between civilians and police officers at a time when our country is in dire need of assurance of civilians’ and law enforcements’ mutual safety,” the hearing order reads.

A hearing will be scheduled at a later date.