Boston Police Department Statement on ACLU Allegations
The Boston Police Department in conjunction with the City of Boston Law Department is reviewing the letter sent by the ACLU.
This statement is not intended as a direct response to all of the issues mentioned in the letter but does address some more immediate misconceptions.
The Boston Police Department holds itself to the highest standards and practices in our intelligence gathering. Our guidelines are based on the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit (LIEU) Criminal Intelligence File Guidelines; which are the national standard. The Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis plays a vital role in crime prevention and public safety.
The Bureau’s Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) is the unit where criminal intelligence information is gathered by the Department. Criminal intelligence is not limited to terrorism or homeland security. The BRIC has specific systems in place to protect the privacy of individuals and groups. Absent an articulable, reasonable suspicion of actual, or attempted planning, organizing, financing or commission of criminal activity the BRIC does not gather or retain information on first amendment protected groups and events. The BRIC makes routine assessments on information it receives to determine its retention. The assessment is done on a case by case basis and retention levels range from a permanent intelligence entry, to a temporary status where information is purged after one year, to an interim classification which requires the information be purged within 90 days.
In 2011, the Department acknowledged and corrected an error in the computer software. Over a four year period we found 11 intelligence reports, which should have been classified as interim and purged from the Department’s database within 90 days. The software system failed to flag the reports to be deleted. The system has since been updated and is under routine scrutiny to ensure it is working properly.
The BRIC does not maintain continued surveillance or documentation on peace protest groups. Boston residents should confidently participate in any lawful, peaceful protest or demonstration knowing the Boston Police Department is not monitoring the events without specific information on suspected criminal activity.