The state commission charged with upholding integrity in law enforcement and standardizing police certification, discipline and training, took issue with the Boston Police Department Monday for its demotion of an officer who was recently appointed to serve on its police-oversight body.

“We are deeply disappointed to learn that Eddy Chrispin was demoted last week from Deputy Superintendent on the Boston Police Department’s (BPD) command staff to Sergeant Detective due to his recent appointment as a POST Commissioner,” said the statement from the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.

The nine-member agency was created through criminal justice reform legislation in 2020, when thousands took to the streets to protest racism and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd.

Chrispin, who was promoted to BPD’s command staff under former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross, was appointed to serve on the POST Commission by state Attorney General Andrea Campbell in May. Shortly thereafter, he was demoted from his rank of Deputy Superintendent to Sergeant Detective.

POST urged Boston Police to reverse that decision.

“This unwarranted decision by the BPD sets an unfortunate precedent and undermines the decisions of the appointing and nominating authorities while also undermining POST’s work toward police reform,” the commission statement said. “We see no legitimate reason why Commissioner Chrispin’s appointment to the POST Commission should result in his demotion.”

A spokesperson for the Boston Police Department declined to comment on the specific circumstances surrounding Chrispin’s demotion but denied that it was connected to his POST Commission appointment.

“The command staff serves as the Department’s highest level of leadership and is appointed by the Police Commissioner,” said Mariellen Burns, Chief of Internal & External Communications for the department. “It is important that all members of this senior leadership team are aligned in carrying out the Department’s mission. From time to time - to strengthen the command staff’s work to fulfill the mission and to promote cohesion of the team - changes are made.”

“The Commissioner expresses his sincere thanks to Sergeant Detective Chrispin for his service on the command staff, having been appointed by a previous Commissioner,” Burns’ statement went on. “Commissioner Cox has every confidence in Sgt. Detective Chrispin’s ability to serve as an appointed member of the POST Commission, as he continues to serve the Boston Police Department as a supervisor in our Civil Right Unit.”

GBH News attempted to reach Chrispin through a representative, who declined to make him available.

The Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers was among the first organizations to call attention to Chrispin’s demotion.

MAMLEO said last week that Chrispin’s appointment to the POST Commission was crucial to “providing the perspective of an active duty law enforcement officer who understands the importance of accountability and transparency” on the agency.

“No one should fear a demotion for serving on the commission,” said retired Boston officer and former MAMLEO President Larry Ellison.

Ellison said, if the demotion stands, it could discourage others from serving and keep well-suited officers off the state oversight body. 

“That means that we can’t select the most qualified because they may be in leadership in the Boston Police Department?” he asked.

In its statement, the POST Commission suggested a possible misunderstanding of conflicts of interest procedures was at play in Chrispin’s demotion.

“We understand BPD demoted Commissioner Chrispin claiming to have concerns about conflicts of interest due to his position on the command staff,” the POST Commission statement said. “Like any other state agency, the POST Commission has procedures to deal with conflicts of interest that may arise. Commissioners routinely disclose or recuse themselves from a particular matter that presents a conflict of interest. Additionally, current and past commissioners have held positions on an agency’s command staff, such as the position of police chief, while also serving as commissioners.”

Lester Baker, a POST Commission appointee, currently serves as Chief of the Framingham Police Department.

In a statement to GBH News, state Attorney General Campbell pointed to Chrispin’s more than two decades on the force “where he has advocated for better community policing and greater opportunity for officers of color and women. After a thorough vetting process, I was proud to appoint Chrispin to the POST Commission, an appointment that was entirely consistent with the state conflict of interest law.”

BPD did not respond to additional requests for comment Monday.

Corrected: July 09, 2024
A previous version of this story misidentified the month Eddy Chrispin was appointed to the POST Commission.