The Boston Police Department is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the department.
Boston Police Department employees -- sworn and civilian -- are our most valuable asset. The men and women of the Boston Police Department are dedicated public servants who work hard every day to serve the community. We are confident in their abilities to identify and work to address barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Boston Police Department is guided by community policing, community engagement, and procedural justice; with the communities we serve as well as our community of employees.
We understand that trust is built by working closely with the community and treating people with dignity and respect. The Boston Police Department prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion in recruitment, hiring, promotion, opportunities for career advancement (i.e. assignments, professional development and trainings), and retention within the confines of the law, Civil Service and collective bargaining obligations.
Diversity -- all aspects of human difference, social identities, and social group differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, and associational preferences.
Equity -- fair and just practices and policies that ensure all community members can thrive. Equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the same. Being equitable means acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities — historic and current — that advantage some and disadvantage others.
Implicit bias* – refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.
Impacts well-intentioned people outside of conscious awareness.
The discriminatory behavior is not based on animus and is not deliberate.
Inclusion -- a community where all members are and feel respected, have a sense of belonging, and are able to participate and achieve to their potential.
Procedural Justice** – the procedures used by law enforcement officers where community members are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness. The four elements of procedural justice are:
Respect – treat people with dignity
Trustworthiness – convey worthy intentions, professional competence, and good character
Voice – allow a person to share his/ her/ their point of view
Neutrality – make bias free decisions
Importance of Diversity in Building Trust with the Community
Diversity within law enforcement agencies – including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, background and experience -- is critical to building trust with the communities they serve. Research has found that:
“... when members of the public believe their law enforcement organizations represent them, understand them, and respond to them – when communities perceive authorities as fair, legitimate and accountable – it deepens trust in law enforcement, instills public confidence in government, and supports the integrity of democracy. This trust is essential to defusing tension, to solving crimes, and to creating a system in which residents view law enforcement as fair and just. Victims and witnesses of crime may not approach or engage with law enforcement if they do not perceive such authorities to be responsive to their experiences and concerns. This trust – and the cooperation it facilitates – also enables officers to more effectively and safely perform their jobs.\"***
The Boston Police Department is committed to strengthening relationships and building trust with the community. The BPD’s model of community policing and engagement has been recognized nationally. This model includes extensive outreach; innovative programs, events and activities; and connecting those in need with services, supports and opportunities.
The Boston Police Department understands that a key element of building trust is by having a department that not only reflects, but represents the community. BPD has taken significant steps to increase diversity within the sworn police force by 1) reinstating the Cadet Program in 2015, 2) hiring a fulltime Diversity Recruitment Officer/ Promotional Exam Administrator in 2017, and consistently requesting language preference lists from the Civil Service Commission. Affinity groups also play an important role in recruitment.
Importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the Department
The Boston Police Department embraces and encourage employees’ differences in lived experience, race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, and other characteristics that make our employees unique and able to connect with the diverse communities we serve.
Affinity groups such as: Benevolent Asian Jade Society of New England, Cabo Verde Police Association, Emerald Society of the Boston Police, Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) of New England, Latino Law Enforcement Group of Boston (LLEGO), Massachusetts Association of Italian American Police Officers, Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement (MAWLE), and Women in Blue are critical to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion within the Department through advocacy and mentoring.
All employees of the Boston Police Department have a responsibility to treat others with fairness, dignity and respect at all times – whether that is engaging with the public or with fellow employees. (See Rule 113 Public Integrity Policy, Rule 113A Bias Free Policing, Rule 113B Transgender Policy, and Rule 114 Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy and Complaint Procedure.)
The Boston Police Department is committed to ensuring that our police officers receive training in fair and impartial policing. This includes procedural justice and implicit bias. Officers also receive training in the constitutionality and proper documentation of police interactions in order to reduce the effects of implicit bias and more effectively serve the diverse communities they represent.
Employees who believe they have been subjected to any kind of discrimination or have witnessed discrimination by other BPD employees should report the incident pursuant to Rule 114 Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy and Complaint Procedure. Any employee found to have exhibited any inappropriate conduct or behavior against others may be subject to disciplinary action per Rule 109 Discipline Procedure.
*This definition is taught at the Boston Police Academy to recruits in the Fair and Impartial Policing curriculum.
**This definition is taught at the Boston Police Academy to recruits in the Fair and Impartial Policing curriculum.
***Advancing Diversity in Law Enforcement, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. October 2016. Pg. ii