A judge has rejected a request by Boston's largest police union to delay the start of a body camera program, paving the way for 100 officers to begin wearing the cameras next week.
You can expect some Boston police officers to be wearing body cameras starting Monday after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled Friday that the department's pilot program could move forward.
"The pilot program needed only 100 volunteers out of 1,200 eligible patrol officers [or 8.3 percent]," Wilkins said in his ruling. "The court agrees with both sides' witnesses that, with active efforts by the BPPA to recruit volunteers from its ranks, at least 100 volunteers likely would have materialized - certainly not zero."
"I wouldn't say it's a victory because I don't want to get in a conflict with the union," said Police Commissioner William Evans. "I'm just happy to get this going, it's lousy that it's played out, us versus the union, so I don't want to say it's a victory, we just have to move forward."
An agreement reached in July called for officers to volunteer. But when none did, Evans ordered a cross-section of officers around the city to wear them.
The commissioner had asserted that he had the right to assign officers to wear the cameras after the voluntary program garnered no volunteers.
But the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association had attempted to get an injunction against the department for violating its agreement on the issue, causing the ACLU and others to cry foul.
"The failure to have volunteers for that program was a self-inflicted wound," said ACLU Legal Director Matthew Segal.
"An injunction effectively rewarding the BPPA for its lackluster efforts to ensure the Memorandum of Agreement's successful implementation would be unjust," Wilkins said in his ruling.
BPPA President Patrick Rose said in a statement he was "disappointed in the court's ruling, but I still believe asking for the injunction was the right thing to do. If we don't challenge the City when they violate signed agreements, then how can we enforce agreements in the future?"
But Rose pledged to work with the commissioner to make the body camera program a success.
"We'll get the program going on Monday, work with the BPPA, and their leadership and the members to get this going," Evans said.