Cambridge city officials will solicit feedback from the public as it searches for a new police commissioner, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale announced Wednesday.
Robert Hass, Cambridge’s last police commissioner, retired in May after nine years of service in the role and 40 years of law enforcement work. DePasquale has scheduled two open public forums for Cantabrigians to give input on the search. Specifically, the city officials will seek to learn about leadership qualities residents wish to see in the new commissioner and the biggest challenges facing Cambridge police.
DePasquale also wrote that the city has hired the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit group founded in 1976 with experience in developing community policing and assisting city leaders in “recruiting and selecting well-qualified candidates,” to aid in the search.
The Research Forum will conduct interviews with various city groups over the coming weeks, reaching out to school and university officials, city employees, business leaders, and community associations, among others.
The collective feedback, DePasquale wrote, will help the city develop the final recruitment profile they plan to use when screening candidates.
City Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen lauded the city’s decision to involve Cambridge residents in the search process, though the search is only in its preliminary stages.
“I think it’s really wise for a city manager to really make it a community affair,” he said. “I think there’s a very long and deep conversation to have about community policing and restorative justice.”
Mazen emphasized the need to ensure that marginalized groups in Cambridge receive equal treatment by the police.
“I want to reach a community that take bias and take conflict out of the equation,” he said. “The issue of racial bias in policing, implicit or explicit, should come up.”
The public forums will be held Thursday, March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and Saturday, March 4 from 10 to 12 p.m. at the Citywide Senior Center.
—Staff writer Nicholas W. Sundberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickWSundberg.