Boston Police have set a target date for the much-anticipated pilot program for the use of body cameras.
Commissioner William Evans said Thursday night he hopes the program will launch Sept. 1.
He announced the date after addressing concerns by the community and local activists, who listed several issues ranging from unclear disciplinary measures if an officer violates policy, to why officers will be allowed to review footage before writing up a report, to why the start date keeps getting pushed back.
"These aren't even new questions," said Segun Idowu of the Boston Police Camera Action Team. "These questions have been asked and asked and asked again."
The ACLU has reviewed Boston's proposed policy and says most of it looks good, but the organization has some questions, including about a provision that allows officers to review footage before writing a report.
"What we don't want are people to tailor their version of events around what they know the body camera did capture or didn't capture," said Matthew Segal of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "Body cameras, when done correctly, when there's a good policy in place, they can reduce uses of force by police officers and they can reduce complaints against the police department, so it can be a win-win that's protecting both sides of the badge."
At a community meeting in Mattapan Thursday night, Evans acknowledged the rollout has taken longer than he hoped.
"It's been a long process," said Evans. "But from the get-go I said I want to get as much community input as possible."
Evans says there has been resistance from officers, and the police department likely won't have enough volunteers so they'll have to be assigned.
100 police officers will wear body cameras in five different neighborhoods for six months.
After that, the program will be reviewed to determine if it should be permanent.
"Everyone won't be 100 percent satisfied but that's why it's called a pilot to see how it works," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.