New Bedford releases comprehensive review of police department

This is a file photo of the New Bedford Police Department. (WLNE)

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira on Thursday released a comprehensive review of the department.

The two-year review was conducted by Jensen Hughes, a global consulting company with a specialized law enforcement practice, and led by Robert Wasserman, a national policing expert.

Oliveira said that although the city has seen a sustained decline in crime over the past decade, he decided that an assessment was needed to determine how the department was functioning overall.

The chief said that the review found the department is performing well, and should continue to modernize its practices to “address the erosion of confidence in police departments nationally.”

Specific policy recommendations in the report include redesigning patrol officers’ responsibilities to include community engagement, reviewing the use of confidential informants, hiring more crime analysts, consolidating Police Station 3 and Police Headquarters, implementing bias training, and making policies and procedures, as well as the steps taken to remedy complaints, transparent.

Oliveira added that three other recommendations were already being implemented: making starting salaries more competitive with surrounding communities, introducing body cameras to be worn by patrol officers, and creating two non-union superintendent positions to oversee different parts of the department.

“The landscape of the law enforcement profession is fluid, and there has been no time in recent history where changes have occurred so rapidly as in the past few years,” Oliveira said. “I see this assessment as a blueprint that will help me, my leadership team, and my officers on the front line continue to bring positive changes to our department and the city we serve.”

Categories: Massachusetts, New Bedford, News