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Boston police working overtime still do not wear body cameras, despite city’s pledge a year ago

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Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

WBUR, October 2020

Nearly a year ago, the mayor promised Boston police officers would soon be required to wear body cameras during overtime shifts. Today, the rule change remains stalled, leaving tens of thousands of hours worked by Boston police undocumented.

Last October, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh cited camera battery life constraints as the problem preventing the roll out. Last week, his office said the city has to get buy-in from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association — the union representing most officers that took the city to court and lost in 2016 over the force’s body camera pilot. It’s unclear when those discussions started. The union didn’t return multiple requests from WBUR for comment.

The delay in expanding the BPD’s body camera policy to include overtime shifts also indicates there likely will be obstacles ahead as the city explores other proposed policing reforms. This includes an even stronger body camera policy that the Boston Police Reform Task Force, a group convened by Walsh this year, recommended in September.

And beyond debate around reforms, there remain questions about how reliably Boston officers are following existing body camera policy.

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