Civil Rights Protection Plan

Chapter 12:BHA Public Safety Partnership

In September 1995, a Boston Housing Authority public safety partnership was formed between the Boston Police Department (BPD), the Boston Housing Authority Police and the Boston Municipal Police. Its primary purpose was to implement a plan which would significantly improve the level of public safety services to the BHA’s public housing developments. This partnership was formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding  Regarding Boston’s Public Housing Developments and The Long Term Strategy For Implementing Neighborhood Policing Between the City of Boston and Boston Housing Authority in September 1995.
The purpose of this partnership is to provide a bridge between the current policing resources and deployments in BHA developments and the City’s long term neighborhood policing strategy. This partnership recognizes that BHA housing developments are integral parts of Boston’s neighborhoods and must be made a complete, and “seamless” part of the City’s overall public safety strategy.
Boston Police Department
In April 1996 the Boston Police Department established a Deployment Plan to further the goals of the public safety partnership. This Deployment Plan contains procedures for consistent uniformed coverage in the BHA developments impacted by community disorder incidents, detailed response strategies, training provisions, intelligence gathering, and improved communication amongst all parties including the public.
The Boston Police Department remains the primary city agency responsible for protecting the constitutional rights of every individual, including the residents of Boston Housing Authority developments. The BPD will continue to be the primary responder to all 9-1-1 calls in all public housing developments.
Through Neighborhood Policing, an operating philosophy that relies on decentralizing the decision making process and on incorporating input from all members of the community in that process, the Department seeks both to improve the quality of life for all residents and to enhance the working relationship between neighborhoods and the Department. District Commanders and Community Service Officers are responsible for maintaining liaison, communication and rapport with the Housing Managers of the BHA developments in their Districts.
Special Police Division, Bureau of Field Services
Within the framework of Neighborhood Policing, the Special Police Division, in coordination with the District Commanders, is charged with the responsibility of providing the security and enforcement needs of all BHA developments. The Special Police Division coordinates the patrol and enforcement activities of both the BHA Police and the Boston Municipal Police.
Community Disorders Unit, Bureau of Investigative Services
Please note: in the years since this policy was written, the Community Disorders Unit has changed its name to the Civil Rights Unit.
The Community Disorders Unit (CDU) is the investigative unit of the Boston Police Department responsible for determining whether reported incidents directed against individuals constitute criminal civil rights violations. The CDU  investigates incidents that are referred to them by other units within the BPD, or by the BHA’s Public Safety or Office of Civil Rights.
If the CDU determines, after investigation, that a civil rights violation has occurred, the case shall be referred to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The decision whether to commence a criminal prosecution rests with the District Attorney.
If the CDU determines that a civil rights violation has occurred, and a civil rights injunction is necessary to stop such conduct from continuing or occurring in the future, the case will be referred to the Civil Rights Division of the Office of the Attorney General.
Criminal investigations conducted by the Boston Police Department are separate and distinct from the administrative inquiry that is conducted by the BHA Office of Civil Rights.
BHA Coordination with the Boston Police Department
The Office of Civil Rights is responsible for acting as a liaison between the BHA and the Boston Police Department Community Disorders Unit.
The Office of Civil Rights and the Community Disorders Unit will periodically conduct a status review of all pending cases. The CDU shall keep District Commanders and the Commander of the Special Police Division informed of the status of such cases.

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