MAPLE PASSES REFORM AGENDA; ENDORSES POST, AND CHARTS FUTURE DIRECTIONS:
November 8, 2017,
Easton MA :The Massachusetts Association for Professional Law Enforcement held its third general membership meeting on Tuesday November 7, 2017, endorsing a police reform agenda; as well as, state legislation that would establish a Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) study commission for Massachusetts. A reform agenda was endorsed that would support the establishment of a statewide agency to guide and direct the police professionalization process. This agency would also be tasked with developing pre-appointment, mandatory academic criteria for candidate eligibility. Additionally, appointment to the position of police officer would be conditional, based upon the successful completion of a basic training program. Basic training programs would be given the additional task of assessing the suitability of new appointees. Currently, municipal police officers are given their appointment prior to their completion of basic training.
Use of Force training would be dramatically altered under the agenda approved by MAPLE. Police trainees would be required to complete interactive firearms training that would simulate actual situations; stress conditioning would be an integral part of the training. Newly appointed officers would be required to serve a probationary period, under a trained and experienced field mentor, who would evaluate their performance and approve their final appointment. Finally, MAPLE endorsed the adoption of a “due process” standard to govern police discipline.
A state legislative proposal that would create a “POST study commission” to examine the feasibility of implementing a POST system in Massachusetts was also adopted. Such legislation was introduced last year on Beacon Hill by State Representative Dan Vieira. It was co-sponsored by State Representative Russell Holmes.
The General membership engaged in a lively discussion about future directions. There was a general consensus that the most pressing issue facing American law enforcement at the current time is the tense relationship between the police and the African American community. The membership urged that steps be taken to examine the factors contributing to this tension and to develop ways of mitigating it.
MAPLE is an organization comprised of current and former law enforcement officers and criminal justice educators, who are committed to professionalizing the police service through improved effectiveness and quality service.