Policing policy expert Chuck Wexler believest that meaningful reform isn’t some lofty, unattainable goal for the Boston Police Department. In fact, as he reiterated during a Wednesday interview on Boston Public Radio, the city has done it before.

Wexler heads the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit focused on American policing. Last week, his essay titled “How A Commissioner Changed The Culture Within The Boston Police Department” was published in The Boston Globe.

Reflecting on the appointment of Commissioner Robert di Grazia in the 1970’s, Wexler made the case that internal reform can often do more towards bettering police forces than external pressure and legislation.

Following his appointment to the commissioner position in 1972, di Grazia made a concerted effort to reassign the slew of sergeant detectives actively accepting bribes from gambling halls in order to curb the force’s corruption problem. At that time, Wexler was an intern for the BPD.

“Internally, that was huge,” he said, “because that broke the back of that [organized corruption] dynamic.”

In the years after he left the force, Wexler said the reform-minded attitude brought by di Grazia quickly waned. He used the metaphor of a stretched-out rubber band, snapping back to its original shape once pressure is lifted.

“You need to develop people to succeed you,” he said. “That didn’t happen in Boston. ... There was — and I liked him — [Commissioner] Joe Jordan … but he wasn’t di Grazia. He was a different style.”

When it comes to improving Boston’s own police culture, which has had a host of issues come to light in recent months, Wexler said there’s a lot of value in having cops address misconduct internally. In particular, he advocated that officers be forced to watch and analyze viral footage of policing gone awry.

“That’s what we need to do with policing — bring your command staff, bring your officers,” he said. “At first they’ll all have their arms folded like, ‘Well, we don’t want to criticize.’ Well ... sorry. That’s B.S., folks.”

Also necessary, he argued, is stepping back from the notion of defunding as a way to better police.

“People are talking about defunding the police, and so forth. I am going in the exact opposite direction," he said. "If you want to change policing, create higher standards, train them differently, and hold them accountable.”

Ultimately, though, he posited that corrupt police — the infamous "bad apples" — are always going to find ways to push the limits of reform legislation.

“There's never going to be enough laws that you can create [that are] gonna envision every situation,” he said.

Instead, he said Boston and other cities would benefit from investing energy and resources into not hiring those "bad apples" to begin with.