The police department in Cambridge, Massachusetts, could soon be monitored for racial bias and profiling in interactions with the public.
In a budget proposal made to the city this week, police would open the Office of Procedural Justice to collect data and track police confrontations with citizens.
"We need it not only here, but we need it everywhere," said City Councilor Sumbul Siddiqui.
The proposal comes days after Cambridge Police forcibly arrested a black student from Harvard University. Video of the interaction drew immediate criticism. However, the police department said Wednesday they had been working on their proposal long before the incident.
"Black and brown communities are very affected by police incidents," Siddiqui explained. "So we have to think about how we can think about racial profiling and use a data-driven approach."
According to the city's website, the office would also work to ensure that the police department was in compliance with statutes, ordinances and regulations aimed at mandating accountability.
"It creates a greater sense of fairness," said Rahsaan Hall, director of social justice for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
In recent years, Hall said studies have repeatedly shown that minority groups face more stops by police in cities such as Boston. He believes tracking the behavior is key to reforming it.
"It's the day-to-day interactions, where people are stopped for driving while black, for walking while black," Hall said. "Race permeates every aspect of society."
While the plan was just formally presented, the city will hold several hearings on the overall budget before approving it. Cambridge Police plan to make an announcement about it once the council gives its support.