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Timeline: The Boston police body camera controversy

December 2014: Mayor Martin J. Walsh says he is not ready to embrace police body cameras.

August 2015: At a City Council hearing on body cameras, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans takes a cautious approach to the idea. “We’re taking a slow, methodical look at the benefits. I don’t want to firmly commit us until it’s vetted across the country.” Walsh shifts his position and says he would consider the devices.

September 2015: Evans asked his command staff to develop a police body camera working group. Based on research gathered by the group, a decision is made for a volunteer program

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October 2015: The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association is made aware the department is looking to test out body cameras. Body camera vendors give union leaders a presentation on the devices and their use at police headquarters

November 2015: Police administration agrees to bargain with union over a body camera pilot program. Pilot program initially was to include only 50 officers.

December 2015: Evans begins the first of several meetings with the union to inform union leaders about the program and to solicit feedback on the body camera policy

January 2016: Evans asks the Social Justice Taskforce, which is made up of civic leaders, to get feedback from the community about the devices

March 2016: City Councilor Andrea Campbell pitched the idea to hold community meetings beginning at the end of April to educate the public about body cameras and to get community input.

April 2016: The city and the union began to work on an agreement around body cameras.

May 2016: Attorneys for the city and the union meet to discuss officer access to video footage captured on the devices. The union wants officers to be able to view footage prior to making written reports. Evans is against it.

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June 2016: An attorney for the union receives a draft of the body camera pilot policy and tweaks are eventually made. Evans says he will start the program even if there is no agreement. The program is slated to begin in June.

June 20, 2016: City agrees to allow officers to view footage prior to making written statements.

July 12, 2016: After months of negotiating, the city announces it has reached an agreement for a volunteer body camera pilot program for 100 officers. Union president Patrick Rose applauds the deal. Officers are expected to wear the devices in August.

July 14, 2016: Rose formally announces the agreement to the union’s House of Representatives and board members. Evans says he suspects there was mixed reaction to the deal.

July 18, 2016: Evans issues a memo asking for volunteers for the body camera pilot program. Participants are to turn in forms for the program by July 29. For 10 days, Evans and his command staff visit roll calls to talk about the program.

July 26, 2016: Superintendent Kevin Buckley alerts Evans to a notice inside a Hyde Park police station discouraging officers from volunteering for the program. The notice had a June date. Scrawled at the top of another notice with a January date was: “Sanction any officer who volunteers.”

Aug. 2, 2016: Rose receives a call from the city that no officers have volunteered. He sends a note to membership stating that those interested should volunteer.

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Aug. 3, 2016: No officers volunteer, even after the administration extends the deadline.

Aug. 4, 2016: Evans attends a City Council hearing focused on the body camera pilot program and he tells officials that no one has volunteered and he will likely have to assign officers to wear the devices.

Aug. 8, 2016: Rose write a letter to Walsh about Evans’ decision to assign officers to the devices. He urges Walsh to get involved.

Aug. 9, 2016: The administration alerts Rose of its intent to order officers to participate and invites the union to meet to discuss.

Aug. 11, 2016: Rose reaches out to Walsh again. In a letter he says Evans’s move violates their collective bargaining agreement. He suggests the city hold the program and go to expedited arbitration. Rose files a grievance with the department. The department finds there was no violation.

Aug. 17, 2016: Evans meets with Rose to provide a list of the assigned officers. Rose protests the assignments and asks Evans to not to go forward. Evans refuses to back down.

Aug. 24, 2016: The department begins training the assigned officers on how to use body cameras.

Aug. 25, 2016: Campbell’s director of constituent services attends a meeting in Dorchester, where a Mattapan community services officer announces that the union told officers not to volunteer to wear the devices.

Aug. 26, 2016: The union turns to Suffolk Superior Court seeking an injunction to delay the pilot program, alleging the city violated collective bargaining rights. Evans pushes back the launch of the pilot from Sept. 2 to Sept. 12

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Sept. 6-7, 2016: Judge Douglas H. Wilkins takes testimony from both sides on the issue.

Sept. 8, 2016: Evans announces that eight members of his command staff will join patrol officers and wear body cameras.

Sept. 9, 2016: Judge Wilkins rules in favor of the city. The pilot program is expected to begin on Sept. 12.


Jan Ransom can be reached at jan.ransom@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Jan_Ransom.