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Boston police commissioner challenges Tito Jackson’s criticisms

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

The city’s top police official fired back Thursday at City Councilor Tito Jackson for saying the department has not done enough to solve shootings and has moved too slowly in equipping officers with body cameras.

Jackson is seeking to unseat Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

“I don’t want to be a political pawn here, and he’s trying to get some attention,” Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said in an interview with WGBH’s “Boston Public Radio. “Don’t use us as a political pawn here to make it seem like the city is out of control.”

Jackson’s criticism involved shootings that don’t involve death. He also slammed the agency for extending a body camera pilot program rather than giving cameras to every officer.

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Evans said he decided to continue testing the cameras to gather more data. The pilot program started in September and was slated to last six months, with 100 officers wearing the devices. This month, the department extended the pilot for six months to capture interactions between officers and the community during spring and summer, which tend to be busier seasons.

“It could be perceived as we’re dragging our feet . . . we want to get this right,” Evans said during his monthly appearance on the show.

Evans also said Jackson was stoking fear about violence in the city and accused him of sharing inaccurate information about crime.

“Don’t be putting out numbers that heighten people’s fears and that are just not true,” he said. “It makes us look inefficient and will lower people’s confidence in us. Nobody tries harder than my homicide unit and detectives, who try to solve every homicide and shooting we have.”

Jackson on Tuesday didn’t dial back his criticisms on shootings and persisted in saying the department is moving too slowly on body cameras.

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“The community wants accountability and transparency in our police department that is dragging its feet on the full implementation of police body cameras,” he said.


Jan Ransom can be reached at jan.ransom@globe.com.