The Rhode Island State Police are seeking the power to obtain phone and internet records without court order or oversight. That is a bad plan. Local and state police around the country (though not here in Massachusetts) have been running up a poor record of respect for civil liberties as they staff out "anti-terror" units, SWATs, and other special response or investigative units. Such agencies generally don't have the training, the culture, or the internal controls to allow them such broad powers.
The Boston Police are expanding the applicant pool. That is a good plan. The more applicants they have, the pickier they can be. Some of the worst police corruption scandals of the last 20 years around the country can be directly traced to lax hiring standards or poor background investigation. A diverse police department is a good thing, but the diversity mustn't come at the expense of standards, as it sometimes has in some departments.