To the editor:

In order to eliminate racism from our police departments and address the numerous tragedies resulting in loss of life due to police misconduct, the equal rights of the victims and their families must be addressed.

Comprehensive police reform needs to be thoroughly addressed by our elected officials because the laws as they stand do not protect the civil and human rights of the long list of victims. The system is broken.

There needs to be absolute accountability and transparency in law enforcement, not a culture where misconduct is left unaddressed while victims’ families struggle to fight the justice system, only to find that it is broken as well.

Police officers are given extraordinary power, and this power is protected by police union contracts, which are negotiated to shield them from accountability and misconduct. Police contracts should only be negotiated for pay, benefits and working conditions.

Police certification will further advance the careers of police officers, and evidently Massachusetts has been behind in licensing officers. Most states are already certified, yet there is still no accountability or transparency.

Gov. Charlie Baker needs to reconsider his position on continuing to fund police departments that deny citizens their civil rights.

It is time for our elected officials to step up to the plate, to protect the citizens they represent and not further empower police departments.

Funding should be allocated to address the victims and racially disenfranchised, to create a better economy, and provide jobs and equal protections.

Beverly Tarsook

Salem, Mass.

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