In push for diversity at BPD, Walsh files proposal to prefer hiring grads from Boston schools

It needs to pass in the Boston City Council and the Massachusetts State House before it becomes law.

Mayor Marty Walsh at a press conference last week.

Mayor Marty Walsh wants more native Bostonians in the city’s police department, according to a home rule petition sent to the city council Monday.

The proposal would add a new hiring preference for residents who graduated from Boston Public Schools. The preference also counts those who graduated through METCO, a voluntary school integration program between Boston and its wealthier suburbs, or from schools in the Boston Compact, which includes charter and Catholic schools.

It’s one of many recommendations sent to the mayor by the Boston Police Reform Task Force last week. The task force asserts that adding a preference to graduates of Boston Public Schools would boost diversity in the police department.

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“Boston is committed to systemic change to ensure the Boston Police Department promotes equity and justice for all Boston residents, and we are moving swiftly to enact the Boston Police Reform Task Force’s recommendations,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement Tuesday. “This home rule petition will give Boston school graduates the opportunity to join the Boston Police Department, and provide a pathway for more of our residents to serve their communities.”

A Boston Globe report in June showed that the demographics of the Boston Police Department fail to reflect the city it serves, overrepresenting white people by about 13 percentage points.

The petition needs to pass in the Boston City Council and the Massachusetts State House before it becomes law. State law already provides a preference for veterans (disabled and otherwise) and widows or widowed mothers of veterans.

The mayor said he would back all proposals from the task force earlier this month. Other recommendations include creating an office of police accountability, expanding the use of body cameras, and revising the use of force policies.

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