Mar 25, 2010

Visiting the Boston Police Department...

Today we met with a Boston Police Department Superintendant, William Evans. Captain Evans is currently head of all uniformed police officers in the city of Boston, ranging from the gang unit to special events such as Red Sox games. Captain Evans began speaking to our group about racial profiling in general as it relates to the Boston Police Department. In the past, being accused of racial profiling was a real issue for the Boston Police, as they have many stereotypes that associate them with being racist. In 2000, laws were passed that required officers to document details about all encounters with violation stops. The goal of this was to track and prevent instances of racial profiling. For example, if a white police officer pulls over a black driver, he must have a valid reason that he is able to document, rather then just pull over the person because they are black and the officer may be racist. In addition, the forms the officers need to fill out include a box that identifies the person’s race and why they were stopped. By collecting this information, Captain Evans, and the Boston Police Department overall, is able to track more accurately trends and also have solid evidence to combat perhaps false accusations.

In addition to speaking with us about how the Boston Police prevents racial profiling, Captain Evans also talked with us about examples or towns where racial profiling might exist more frequently, such as wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods without a diverse police force. We learned from Captain Evans that a police force should accurately represent the diversity of the community that they work in to prevent racial profile from happening or people assuming it will.

In addition to talking about profiling, we also were fortunate enough to tour the department headquarters as a whole. We were able to see the CSI labs, which we were all excited to see if it was just like tv or not! We also got to take a closer look at the Real Time Crime labs, and got a first hand look at a 9-1-1 call in progress.

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