October 3o, 2023 By Carol Britton Meyer
In his role as civil rights officer, Hingham Police Lt. John Marquardt supports the department’s commitment to promoting and upholding the principles of equity, fairness, and justice in all aspects of its operations and in treating all members of the community with respect, impartiality, compassion, and dignity.
Marquart — who has been with the HPD for 13 years — provides ongoing training to fellow police officers to enhance their understanding of cultural diversity, implicit bias, fair and impartial policing, and de-escalation techniques and to help create a safe and inclusive environment in Hingham “where every resident feels valued, heard, and understood” in partnership with community members, including those of marginalized populations, Marquardt told the Hingham Anchor. “While I hold the title, all members of the HPD play a role. Our officers — many of them from Hingham — are well-educated, have diverse backgrounds, are well-trained, and buy into the program because they know it’s important.”
Marquardt has also served as an HPD patrol officer, school resource officer, detective, patrol sergeant, and lieutenant shift commander and is an adjunct instructor for the Municipal Police Training Committee.
While the HPD has always had an officer with a focus on civil rights, the current position evolved when then-Governor Charlie Baker mandated that local police departments create such a position if they didn’t already have one. As a result, under state law, specific training was required for officers serving in that role.
Marquardt applied for and accepted the position. “At that time, police departments were going through some tough times during the push for police reform,” he recalled. “It’s a pretty significant role — dealing with different community groups and dealing with hot-button issues including hate crimes and speech and racial attacks, and I felt I was ready to take on that challenge. It’s a 24/7 job.”
Fair and impartial policing
The focus is on community engagement, training and education, accountability, and fair and impartial policing.
“Having Lt. Marquardt onboard as our civil rights officer has allowed us to provide a way for our community members to have direct contact with a senior member of our agency to talk about issues relating to hate, bias, or civil rights,” Police Chief David Jones told the Hingham Anchor. “Lt. Marquardt has been instrumental in propelling the HPD forward and making us leaders in the region for training and accountability for our officers and staff.”
As an example, Marquardt brought the ABLE (Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement) Project “to all of our officers, and he has made a commitment with us to train newly hired officers as they are brought onboard to help ensure that all are trained to the same standard.”
‘Good communication is the key’
The HPD “has a good relationship with the community,” Marquardt said. “Good communication is the key. We want to continue to get the message out to the community that we are welcoming and here to help and will work with citizens to find a solution, whatever the challenge.”
The Citizens Police Academy and Family Fun Days are a couple of the other ways the HPD reaches out to the community.
Implicit bias awareness training is the foundation of the HPD’s efforts. While prejudice remains widespread in society and often manifests itself below conscious awareness, research shows that individuals can reduce their implicit biases through positive contact with stereotyped groups and through counter-stereotyping, among other means.
In his role as civil rights officer, Marquardt works hand-in-hand with the HPD’s full-time community crisis response clinician, Aileen Walsh, and the Plymouth County Outreach Officer related to substance misuse issues. Officer Lisa McCracken is the HPD’s liaison with that office.
“All hate crimes are taken seriously’
There’s also a focus on hate crimes, which Marquardt said should be reported immediately to get on top of the situation as soon as possible.
It is the policy of the Hingham Police Department to safeguard the state and federal rights of all individuals irrespective of their race, religion, ethnicity, handicap, sexual orientation, or gender and to treat seriously any acts or threats of violence, property damage, harassment, intimidation, or other crimes that infringe upon these rights. “All hate crimes are taken seriously by the Hingham Police Department,” Marquardt said. “If you believe you have been a victim of a hate crime, report it immediately by dialing 911. The earlier we can get involved the better.”
For non-emergencies call (781) 749-1212 to report the incident to a police officer.
Reported incidents involving a potential hate crime will be immediately forwarded to Marquardt.
According to social psychologists, with information and motivation, people can implement unbiased behavioral responses that override discrimination-promoting associations and biases, which is part of the training HPD officers undergo.
Marquardt represents HPD on the Hingham Human Rights Commission and works with the Hingham Unity Council to ensure the town is welcoming to everyone.
Marquardt can be reached at email@example.com or (781) 804-2230 with any questions or concerns.
‘He has a great passion for his work’
“I encourage anyone who feels they, or someone they know, has been the victim of a hate crime or hate incident to contact the police department to report it,” Jones said. “If you want to learn more or just have a conversation with Lieutenant Marquardt, I encourage you to contact him. Our website, hpd.org, has an updated ‘Civil Rights and Equity’ page that has useful information and links as well as Lt. Marquardt’s contact information.”
Jones said he is “incredibly proud of the dedication that Lt. Marquardt has to our community and to ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and impartially.”
Jones also noted that Marquardt has a great passion for the work he does and has been a role model to his fellow officers. “I look forward to our continued partnerships with our community and civic groups and continuing to make sure Hingham is always a welcoming and safe place for all,” he said.
Marquardt is following family tradition in his career with the HPD. His father was a Boston police officer for 41 years, and his brother, Stephen, is a police officer in Abington, where they grew up.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, attending sports and other events. “I’m always on the go, but I’d rather be busy than bored,” he said.