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Jani, Other Candidates Talk About Police Reform, But What Has Really Changed?

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On Thursday, the city’s newly created Office of Police Accountability and Transparency released a lengthy-awaited report on Rose’s investigation. It contained no unused facts or information, and no further insight into how Rose survived the discovery in the 1990s that he likely sexually abused a child.

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All I really offered was this sensational recommendation: When officers are accused of crimes, the Department of Home Affairs should be notified.

I’m here to tell you: When officers are found guilty of grave crimes, the BP Police Department is usually well aware.

Acting Major Kim Jane said Rose should have been removed from the force following the initial allegation.

“It’s a shame it seems that the measures taken were to protect their children, not to protect the children,” Jani said at a city council news conference.

It’s firm to argue with that, especially in light of allegations that Rose may have continued to abuse children. (Rose pleaded innocence and denied all allegations.)

But somehow, in the months since Rose’s alleged crimes became public, the debate about what to do next has been frustratingly unload.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that this stalling occurs in the middle of a major campaign. Janie created the unused office, which I think is pleasing. But she has not yet come to the point of calling for any significant and specific changes, and neither has the lead actress herself.

Fixing the inner affairs process is complicated – there are pleasing reasons why inner investigations can’t be zoomed in for all to see. But talking about “reform” without actually reforming anything only erodes public trust.

There may actually have been more momentum for change prior the pressures of the campaign made everyone very wary. A panel headed by previous US Attorney Wayne Budd made a number of powerful recommendations a year ago — many of them, unfortunately, painfully familiar — and it appears that senior elected officials were on board. But there was little action behind the speech.

How messy things are? The police reform commission appointed by Jani two months ago, chaired by the ACLU’s Rahsan Hall, has not met even since the press conference announcing its formation.

Most of the other major candidates have also adopted Janie’s practice of making mild calls for reform without ever saying what they would actually change. (One exception was Anisa Al Sibi George, who did not even claim to support a fundamental police reform.)

Chancellor Andrea Campbell was the only voice calling out loud and persistent for more combative action on this fore. Even prior she became a lead candidate, she had bet on this turf and was relentless in calling on Janie to move faster and more decisively.

After Janie’s press conference, Campbell called for an self-reliant investigation by the US Attorney’s Office into how it handled the allegations against Rose.

“It is time for a real, self-reliant investigation led by the US Attorney’s Office to find out what really happened here and donate residents the transparency and accountability they deserve.”

And the report released this week indicated that the police department didn’t even try to fire Rose when he was first charged in the 1990s, which certainly should have happened. Paul Evans, the commissioner at the time, emphasized vehemently that he did everything he could do. I’d like to see an self-reliant investigation get to the heart of this.

But I would also like to know that there is no Patrick Roses in the department today, and that whatever happened in his case cannot happen now.

Despite all the talk about supporting the change, no one knows or will say if this is true.

Adrian Walker is a columnist for The Globe. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.


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