The Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, which was sued by civil liberties activists seeking disclosure of its records, has agreed to comply.
"Today's settlement is a victory for open government and accountability," Jessie Rossman, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said in a statement. The civil liberties group had brought suit against NEMLEC.
"I am proud we were able to come together on this matter, because I firmly believe that both organizations have the same desire for safety and openness," Laura Nichols, NEMLEC's executive director, said in a statement.
The regional police organization said it had changed its policy and voted "that as an instrument of law enforcement and public safety, NEMLEC should be subject to public records disclosure and should comply with public records requests" under state law.
NEMLEC is a group of 61 police and sheriff departments in Middlesex and Essex counties that includes several operational units, including a SWAT team, the ACLU said.
The ACLU said it filed suit last June to try to get records related to the SWAT team and other operations.
NEMLEC has now agreed to release more than 900 pages of documents about its activities to the ACLU, including SWAT team after-action reports, policies, financial statements and training materials, the ACLU said, promising to release the documents to the public soon, along with its analysis.
"The public deserves to know what law enforcement agencies are doing in our name," ACLU of Massachsetts executive director Carol Rose said in a statement. She said she applauded NEMLEC and called on other similar entities to follow NEMLEC's lead.