As protestors across the country continue to call for the defunding of police departments, the Boston City Council is set to hold a public hearing Tuesday to kick off the budget review process with special attention to police resources. WGBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu spoke with City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who has pushed for police reform for years, about the potential changes she and her fellow council members plan to discuss. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: Good morning, Councilor, and welcome back to WGBH Radio.

Councilor Andrea Campbell: Thank you, Joe, and thank you for having me. And thank you for being very explicit about my years of advocacy because it's important to know that there have been many folks, including residents, pushing for change long before the tragic murder of George Floyd.

Mathieu: Well, that's for sure. It's been years. It's been generations, frankly. We should note the councilor chairs the City Council's committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, and so let's talk about this. I'd like to ask you about some of the specific reforms being called for. But first, just in terms of general funding, because of the calls we're hearing, do you believe too much of the city's budget goes to police?

Campbell: I do think this is an opportunity to really reflect on all of our systems and ways in which we can transform them to specifically make them more transparent, more accountable and, of course, racially just. So the police system is is the focus right now, and when you look at the budget, it's over $400 million. It's the second largest in our city budget, after the school budget. But you have overtime that is in the millions — $60 million in overtime.

So folks in the community have been mobilizing and pushing us to say this is an opportunity to push a reform, but let's not forget that the money itself is an issue. How do we reallocate these resources in such a way that we are focusing on funding the root causes of violence? So doing things with respect to poverty, our poor schools, our poor housing [and] lack of opportunity. And so the hearings these past couple of weeks, including one today, will talk about how might we reinvest some of those overtime dollars or other money that goes to, say, the BRIC [Boston Regional Intelligence Center], which many have said is like a black box, and reinvest those dollars into more meaningful community initiatives.

Mathieu: Are you encouraged the mayor said he's open to reallocating funding for police?

Campbell: Absolutely. I think it's a step in the right direction. I have been explicit that I want to see and hear more specific commitments from him. He's at the bargaining table with respect to our public safety unions. The councilors are prohibited legally from participating, and so I want to hear from him that he's at that table saying we're not only going to push for more transparency and to make data available on a public dashboard, for example, we're going to push for more accountability — so establish a civilian review board — look at other ways of looking to diversify our department, establish all of our officers go through a racial equity and anti-racist training [and] do something with use of force. So the list is long; I want to hear those specifics from him, because his leadership with respect to these issues matter, particularly because of his positioning with the unions.

Mathieu: I'd like to ask you about reforming use of force tactics. You've been calling for this for a long time. And more recently, you're pointing to this Eight Can't Wait campaign that came out of Ferguson [and] the death of Michael Brown. It lists eight steps to reduce police violence, and you say only half of them have been adopted here.

Campbell: That's right. So the push is that [the] four other use of force guidelines be reviewed, and I put it on the mayor to say, again, in conversations with the police department as well as the union, how might we get some of these other measures adopted. And that's the plan right now.

Mathieu: [That] brings us to another idea that's been around for a while and that is demilitarizing the police. Your colleague, [Councilor] Michelle Wu, is asking for a review of all military-style equipment used by Boston police. What is it we're talking about here? What kind of equipment?

Campbell: So whether it's tear gas [or] rubber bullets — the list is long as to what is currently in our arsenal — how much is it costing taxpayers to equip our department with such materials and tools? And the question on the table is, are these things necessary? So the use of force guidelines are reviewing those to get rid of chokeholds and other policies that I think many, including the attorney general just said, should not be a tool we use. We also have to couple that conversation with these tools that we referred to as military equipment. Councilor [Ricardo] Arroyo and I are actually right now having conversations on drafting an ordinance to specifically ban these type of tools. And we're looking forward to conversations with many of our colleagues with respect to moving these things in such a way that it's not just gathering information, but it's taking steps to prohibit certain actions, [and] to change policy and practice within the department.

Mathieu: Can I ask you, lastly, Councilor, just about the resistance here, potentially? You're closer to this than I am. Have you heard from the police department on this? I know you've traded some tweets recently with the police commissioner. [Do] you expect the police union, which is so important in so many politicians being re-elected, to push back on these ideas?

Campbell: So I've often said that with any reform in a system, everyone needs to be at the table and everyone has a role to play. And I definitely see this as an opportunity in which we can dismantle systems and make sure they're truly just, and that they don't continue to hurt black and brown people. And everyone, I think, has agreed that that is important — that systems change is necessary. I've been in communication with Commissioner [William] Gross as well as the mayor to say I want to work in partnership and in collaboration. I just hosted a meeting yesterday. It's a working group that I will continue with advocacy orgs — NAACP, the ACLU [and the] Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights — and our police unions were there, specifically the unions representing officers of color, our District Attorney Rachael Rollins. So all of us need to be at the table, along with our residents, having conversations so that the changes that we make when they are actually implemented have the intended outcome that we all want to see, which is a system that is more transparent with greater accountability and one that is racially just.