Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said in an interview this week that he felt the city’s fight with the patrolmen’s union over a body camera pilot program may have sent the wrong message to residents this summer.
“It sent the message that we’re hiding something,” Commissioner William Evans said Tuesday, the day after the program began. “The longer we were fighting it, the more people think that we’re doing some bad things out there.”
The commissioner made the remarks on the WGBH News program Greater Boston with Jim Braude, and were reported by Boston.com.
The six-month pilot program, outfitting 100 Boston police officers—about five percent of the total force—with body cameras was originally scheduled to start on Sept. 1, but was delayed after no officers came forward to volunteer.
Evans and Mayor Marty Walsh said that the cameras would be randomly assigned to officers—a move the police union said violated the city’s agreement to keep the program voluntary. The union ultimately lost that case, with the department empowered to assign the devices.
Evans said he hopes the cameras will help to improve police/community relations moving forward.
“You’re naive to not pay attention to what’s going on across the country,” Evans added, according to Boston.com. “It’s going to be a necessary part of policing.”
But, he added, “it’s a new technology and change doesn’t come easy to any organization.”