How does civilian oversight work? Can you describe what a "weak chief" is?

The Lexington Police Chief is appointed under M.G.L. Chapter 41, section 97A colloquially referred to as the "weak chief" statute. In essence, the Chief of Police does not have the authority to hire, fire, promote or discipline (over 5-days suspension). This authority rests by law with the Town Manager (Select Board-Town Manager Act adopted by Lexington in 1967). The Town Manager is also responsible for approving police policies.

The Town Manager is in turn responsible to the Select Board. This provides civilian review of police activities that can be enhanced as needed at the discretion of the Town Manager and/or Select Board.

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1. Do we have sufficient staffing numbers to ensure that police officers are not working too many hours per week and facing burn out?
2. What types and topics of training are required for a Lexington Police Officer? What types and topics of training required annually?
3. How does training rebalance into cultural competency training, practices for preventing racial profiling and de-escalation training?
4. Can you share any analysis of the effectiveness of each source and mode of training?
5. Given the recent national conversation on policing in the 21st Century, how does Lexington plan to evaluate policing methods to ensure we are leaders in this conversation and not followers?
6. How does civilian oversight work? Can you describe what a "weak chief" is?
7. Can you please describe accountability mechanisms for police behaviors that are outside what is expected?
8. Can you explain why we need detail officers for traffic? Can't flag holders be used instead?
9. Why do police detail officers carry their firearms with them?
10. What role do police unions play with regard to the Lexington Police Department?
11. What is approach of the Town and the Police towards membership of its police officers in police fraternities?
12. What are the Town/Police Department's views on qualified immunity for police officers?
13. With officers working overtime shifts, how do you work to prevent burnout?
14. Has there ever been a civilian board/committee that has worked with the Police Department?
15. How do you ensure that Department policies are followed and that there is a culture of accountability?