By Jordan Mayblum

The Select Board announces the creation of two groups that will work to improve policing and public safety in Brookline, and town leaders encourage interested residents to apply to be part of the process.

At its July 21 meeting, the Board voted to create both the Task Force to Reimagine Policing in Brookline and the Select Board Committee on Policing Reforms.

Both groups will be chaired by members of the Select Board. They will work separately on their respective charges while working together to compare their findings and coordinate their efforts.

“These groups will do the important work of evaluating the current state of public safety and policing in Brookline, including where we can do better as a community, as well as what approaches are being taken here that work well,” Select Board Chair Bernard Greene said. “The input of diverse stakeholders will be critical to the work of both groups, so I urge anyone who is interested in taking part, either through committee membership or public comment, to engage with these groups and involve themselves in these critical conversations.”

The Task Force to Reimagine Policing in Brookline 

The Task Force to Reimagine Policing in Brookline will be tasked with a variety of responsibilities centered around exploring and recommending a new, data-informed approach to public safety.

The Task Force will first develop an understanding of the town’s existing approach to public safety, as well as an in-depth sense of how specific populations — including, but not limited to people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, gender/gender identity, and ethnicity experience policing.

Additionally, the Task Force will explore alternative approaches to public safety in the U.S. and abroad, as well as conceptualize approaches of its own, and consider which existing police functions may be well-suited to be directed to alternative departments or agencies.

The Task Force will consist of Select Board Member Raul Fernandez (Task Force Chair), Advisory Committee Chair Mike Sandman, and nine Brookline residents committed to re-imagining the town’s public safety model. At least half of those residents will be from communities who have historically been disproportionately impacted by policing.

For the full committee charge and more details, click here.

To apply, please fill out this form by Aug. 5.

The Select Board Committee on Policing Reforms

This Committee will review and identify police policies and procedures, training and education, and the supervisory structure of the Brookline Police Department and determine what, if any, improvements and updates would benefit the department and the community at large.

The review will place an emphasis on determining how to ensure policing in Brookline is equitable and supported in the community, especially among Black and Hispanic communities, immigrants, residents of Brookline Public Housing, the LGBTQ+ community, and residents from other historically vulnerable populations.

The Committee will also review systemic and institutional issues impacting policing in Brookline, including Civil Service rules, mutual aid, and similar agreements, state statutory and regulatory provisions, town bylaw sections, and collective bargaining and vendor contract provisions.

Select Board Chair Bernard Greene will serve as the Chair of this Committee. For the full Committee charge and more information, click here.

Members of the community interested in participating on this Committee should review the membership section of the charge and apply using this form by Aug. 5.