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Community Update from City Manager Huang

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It has been a month since my last community update on the City’s response to the shooting and death of Arif Sayed Faisal by a Cambridge Police Officer. Over the last four weeks, the City and Police Department have continued to work hard on our path forward and I wanted to provide a few updates.

First, the Cambridge Police Department has hired Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to independently review the Cambridge Police Department’s current training programs, policies, and protocols. PERF has been a leader in police reform, transparency, and accountability and will focus in on how our response to people in crisis could be improved. We have further asked PERF to conduct a separate critical incident review of the January 4 fatal shooting after the inquest is complete.  The full report will be made public to the community. 

Second, the Police Department has moved rapidly to plan for implementation of body worn cameras. This builds off the preliminary work that was conducted in 2020 and includes creating a cross-department team to lead the work, releasing a Request for Information (RFI) for interested vendors, scheduling site visits with local and state departments, developing draft policies, planning for community engagement, submitting for grant funding from the Department of Justice, and engaging our unions, the Cambridge Police Patrol Officers and the Cambridge Police Superior Officers Associations. We will also plan to pilot a short field trial which we hope to move quickly toward. This is a high priority for the department and we will continue to share updates. 

Third, the Police Department is evaluating other less-lethal options for future use. Once an evaluation concludes in the coming weeks, the Department will recommend proposed changes or additions and bring these to the City Council for review

Fourth, the Police Department also continues to progress in developing a procedural justice dashboard, which will be released this summer. The dashboard will provide the public with greater data on equity across arrests, citations, and summons, and we are exploring a consulting partner to help with conducting deeper assessments and analytics on police equity, which will include further work on the procedural justice dashboard.  

Finally, we have been making progress in establishing the City’s new Community Safety Department (CSD). I have appointed an Interim Director and there has been significant progress in the past weeks, including hiring a Coordinator role, preparing to post Crisis Response Specialist positions, and forming a Community Safety Steering Committee which will assist Department leadership in the development of a mission statement, outreach plan, and a process for disseminating funds for community partners. The Steering Committee held its first meeting on March 14 and includes representatives from Cambridge Health Alliance, Transition House, City of Cambridge, and local community members. The department has ordered two electric vehicles that its responders will use to respond to calls, and the Director of Emergency Communications has been working to receive approval for identified calls to be diverted to the CSD rather than the police.

We will continue to provide updates on our progress and I am committed to working closely with Commissioner Elow, City leadership, and the City Council to make important changes that keep everyone in our community safe and increase the trust, accountability, and transparency in our amazing City.

Yi-An Huang
City Manager

Page was posted on 3/19/2023 6:43 PM
Page was last modified on 3/19/2023 6:43 PM
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