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City of Cambridge Hires Internationally-Renowned Consultant to Conduct Third-Party Police Review

2022 Central Square Community Outreach
Cambridge Police Outreach

The City of Cambridge and Police Department today announced they have contracted with Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), who will conduct an independent review of the Cambridge Police’s current training programs, policies, and protocols to make recommendations for the department and help evaluate areas of improvement. Part of this work will include reviewing the January 4th fatal police shooting of Arif Sayed Faisal to determine how training and protocols could be revised or improved to ensure the safest outcome for all involved in a critical incident.

A recognized leader in the industry with more than 40 years of experience,
PERF has assisted state, county, and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices, as well as federal and international law enforcement agencies. Their breadth of experience includes evaluating law enforcement agencies to ensure they are employing the best and most progressive practices. PERF has recently reviewed policies and practices for police departments in Paterson, NJ; Fredericksburg, VA; Fayetteville, NC; Virginia Beach, VA, and Washington, D.C. Their long history includes working with law enforcement agencies to improve, develop long and short-term goals, and provide measurable benchmarks to track progress.   

Executives and staff members from PERF will initially focus on collecting and reviewing relevant training protocols and related policies and procedures. PERF will also interview stakeholders around crisis response within the City of Cambridge, such as trainers, dispatchers, and response team members, to determine where areas for improvement may exist, as well as what types of training and/or additional less-than-lethal options could be beneficial.

The work with PERF will build on what the Cambridge Police Department previously committed to in 2022 with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), a program that provides accreditation to law enforcement agencies that are deemed to provide life, health, and safety services of the highest caliber. As part of the multi-year process, the Cambridge Police has been conducting a review and update of its policies, procedures, rules, and regulations. CALEA’s primary focus is on improving how public safety services are provided, with a goal of strengthening crime prevention, maintaining fair and non-discriminatory hiring practices, and increasing interagency cooperation -- all to serve in increasing community and staff confidence in the department.

“Following the tragic police shooting of Arif Sayed Faisal, I have been committed to charting a path forward by working with the Police Commissioner and City department heads to evaluate our existing services and implement the six recommendations outlined by the City Council that will strengthen our overall safety and support for the Cambridge community,” said City Manager Yi-An Huang. “Bringing on PERF is one of several commitments we are in the process of implementing and they have a strong record on police reform and helping departments make meaningful changes.  We are looking forward to their review and recommendations.”

“A great deal of work has been prioritized by the City and our department in the aftermath of this tragedy,” said Police Commissioner Christine Elow. “Uniquely suited to perform this work, PERF is a highly respected leader within law enforcement. They will help us continue to learn and grow from the January 4th fatal shooting, particularly from the lens of our policies and procedures. Additionally, we expect they will help us with recommendations on less-than-lethal alternatives, how we could evolve the department and city’s capacity for alternative responses to mental health crisis’; and identify new or enhanced prospective training opportunities that would support safe, effective crisis response services to residents with behavioral health challenges. Ensuring that our officers and staff receiving training that is consistent with national best practices will enhance the safety of our residents and officers, and help promote trust within the community.”

The work will be handled by a seven-member team PERF specially selected for Cambridge that includes four law enforcement professionals, including training experts, and three civilian members, one of whom specializes in officer-involved shooting investigations. A report will be delivered within three months of PERF conducting their last interview and/or receiving their last requested item(s) following the completion of the independent inquest and will be made available to the public through the Cambridge Police website.

Page was posted on 3/17/2023 1:10 PM
Page was last modified on 7/25/2023 1:23 AM
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