Following the State Senate’s vote last week on a bill to address police reform, the Mass. House of Representatives is aiming for a vote on Wednesday over its own version of legislation to address police oversight, following the widespread protests sparked by police killings of unarmed Black men throughout the country.
Eddy Chrispin, a Boston police sergeant and president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, joined Boston Public Radio on Wednesday to discuss what he thinks police reform ought to look like.
Chrispin, a nearly-lifelong Boston resident and former social worker, said he understands the need for change in the city’s policing system, but expressed concern that the bill is moving too quickly, and without necessary input from police and the community that supports them.
"I work in the community service office, I go to community meetings on a regular basis. I know some of the concerns that are expressed in this bill are not necessarily those of the community,” Chrispin said, adding that any legislation should account for the protection of officers from threats and harassment.
“For me, we really have to be reasonable in what we do, and we have to really be down the middle,” he said. "We can’t create an environment where the police are the enemy. We know that [policing] was the impetus for this movement, but this movement has become so much bigger than the police."
Chrispin added that it’s critical for legislators and the public to also recognize the need to address racism beyond policing, saying that “if we’re really going to make an impact on systemic racism, we have to attack things such as education, employment [and] political empowerment.”
“Because at the end of the day,” Chrispin said, "if we can’t deal with those things as a society, we’re not going to get rid of them in policing.”