The creation of an independent commission to analyze police procedures in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings might strike some as premature. After all, communities around Greater Boston are still celebrating the heroic actions of its public safety workers and mourning the victims. But another way to pay respect is to recognize that Massachusetts’ public-safety efforts will provide valuable lifesaving lessons for other places that may face similar attacks.
Boston has a proud history of independent commissions that examined police operations. The 1992 St. Clair Commission uncovered the Boston Police Department’s failure to monitor the performance of rogue officers. The 2005 Stern Commission provided a dispassionate assessment of the breakdowns that led to the death of an innocent 21-year-old Red Sox fan who was shot by police with a so-called less-lethal weapon during a postgame celebration.