Mayor Michelle Wu on Thursday announced appointments to two police oversight boards responsible for investigating complaints against police officers and reviewing the force’s internal affairs processes. She also unveiled an online dashboard where the public can lodge and monitor grievances.
The appointments of 14 diverse community organizers and youth advocates include a judge, a public school teacher, a criminal defense attorney, and a social worker. They strengthen “a commitment to creating clear channels of accountability to build a safer, stronger city for all of us,” Wu said at a news conference at Boston Police headquarters.
Both the nine-member Civilian Review Board and five-member Internal Affairs Oversight Panel are now fully staffed. They fall under the city’s police watchdog agency, the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, which was created under former mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration in 2020 following recommendations from the Boston Police Reform Task Force.
“Every resident, in every corner, of every neighborhood in our city, must feel safe, deserves to feel safe, to be safe, in the knowledge that our police department will uphold its responsibility to serve and protect,” Wu said. “That requires building trust, which begins and ends with community.”
The new dashboard where the public can monitor and lodge police complaints, as well as find statistics related to police interactions with the community, can be found at www.boston.gov/opat.
Wu, who campaigned on bringing “cultural and systemic reforms” to the police department, made the announcements surrounded by the appointees, Police Superintendent Sharon Dottin, and Deputy Superintendent Eddy Chrispin of the Internal Affairs Division.
“With our search for a new police commissioner underway and our appointees to the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency boards in place, we are ready to transform the structures of public safety and change the culture of policing in Boston,” Wu said.
OPAT Executive Director Stephanie L. Everett, who began in her role nine months ago, said she was excited to see her endeavor evolve from “a party of one” to a full roster of committed panel and board members.
Along with investigating complaints, their work includes policy and procedural reviews, as well as building “trust internally and externally,” Everett said.
“It will not be achieved in a short period of time but with constant, committed, and purposeful effort to build trust and rebuild trust,” she said. “It will require some of us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable as we do the work together.”
The review board is responsible for reviewing and recommending action on individuals’ complaints against the police department. It is chaired by Peter Alvarez, a former Boston Public Schools teacher and lawyer.
The other eight members appointed by Wu on Thursday are:
● Natalie Carithers, a former chief of staff in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, who has served in various public service and community organization positions;
● The Rev. Wayne S. Daley, director of youth and community services at the Salvation Army in Boston, who has served as a chaplain at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and assisted young people returning to their communities after periods of incarceration;
● Joshua Dankoff, a child welfare, juvenile justice, and immigration policy advocate;
● Anne Hernandez, a social worker supporting immigrant students;
● Carrie Mays, a local organizer with the Center for Teen Empowerment involved in the arts, serving as the board’s youth member;
● Amy McNamee, a criminal defense attorney who works on violent and financial crimes cases;
● Tara Register, an advocate and organizer focused on creating youth wellness through comprehensive systems of family support; and
● Chris Sumner, an advocate who has led many community organizations in Boston, including Upward Bound and The Salvation Army’s Ray & Joan Kroc Center.
The Internal Affairs Oversight Panel is responsible for reviewing completed investigations of the Boston Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division. It will be chaired by Judge Leslie Harris, a retired associate justice for the Suffolk Juvenile Court who has also worked as a teacher, youth worker, probation officer for Suffolk Superior Court, public defender, and chief of the Juvenile Division of the Suffolk County DA’s office.
Other members appointed by Wu include:
● Allison Cartwright, attorney in charge at the Roxbury Defender’s Office, former member of the Police Reform Task Force, and former assistant corporation counsel for the city;
● Christina Miller, an assistant clinical professor of law at Suffolk University who also served as chief of district courts and community prosecutions with the Suffolk DA’s Office;
● Julien Mundele, an attorney specializing in government investigations, criminal defense, and health law practice, and a former assistant district attorney with the Suffolk DA’s Office; and
● Jassie-Fredcia Senwah, a victim witness advocate at the Suffolk DA’s Office and organizer providing resources and support to students, women, and children impacted by domestic violence.