As part of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s efforts to refocus her office more on serious, violent crimes and less on low-level offenses, her office will conduct a review of unsolved homicide cases, she announced Friday.
Project for Unsolved Suffolk Homicides, or PUSH, will have two phases. First, non-legal staff will summarize the cases and determine next steps in the investigation. Then, the PUSH Assessment Committee will look through the reviews and either advise the Boston Police Department Homicide Unit or assign a member of the office’s legal staff to the case, Rollins’s office said in a statement.
“PUSH is ambitious, but the people of Suffolk County deserve to hear us say we remember your loved one,” Rollins said in the statement. “They are not just a case file. We will work to get you answers. I know those answers may not come easy. If we want to succeed, we are going to need everyone in the office to commit to the project.”
Rollins said the new initiative will allow her staff to look at homicide cases with fresh eyes and renewed interest. The first cycle of casework will conclude in December, and the office will start again in 2020 with a new load of cases, Rollins said. New cases will be assigned to the non-legal staff every 90 days.
There are more than 1,350 open murder cases dating back to the 1960s.
This program dovetails with Rollins’s overall goal of diverting those charged with lesser, non-violent crimes from the criminal justice system to treatment or job training programs, she said.
“I know this work will be difficult as many cases could remain unsolved; however, it has great value,” Rollins said. “Lives were stolen, we must never forget that.”