FORMER TROOPERS URGED TO BACK PROBE OF STATE POLICE
MAPLE President Pitches Blue Ribbon Commission
The general membership of the Former Mass State Trooper’s Association (FMSTA), a one thousand member organization, met for their general membership meeting on Saturday September 22, 2018 in Marlborough MA. The main agenda item was a pitch for support for a Blue Ribbon Commission to investigate the Massachusetts State Police. President Robert McCarthy opened the discussion by reading FMSTA’s official response to the scandal. The actions of the few troopers, who brought disgrace upon the Department were condemned. Concern was expressed for the morale of the honest Troopers performing their duties, in the midst of plummeting public support, and a call for reform was made centered upon what the FMSTA described as the Department’s core values “integrity, honesty and accountability”. The reforms of Sir Robert Peele were offered as benchmarks for rebuilding the Department.
MAPLE President Dennis Galvin was given the floor and told the former Troopers that the “depth and extent” of the scandal, as reported thus far, suggests “systemic corruption” within the Department. He said that this threatens to undermine the effectiveness of the state police in their efforts to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth, and also jeopardizes the reputation of every former Trooper. Galvin described the situation as a “leadership challenge” for the FMSTA, an organization devoted to preserving the legacy of the State Police, and warned that if the former Troopers did not “define themselves” in the face of this corruption, others would do it for them.
Galvin said that a Blue Ribbon Commission was the only way to ensure an effective review of the Department. He said that it must be comprised of nationally known Law Enforcement experts, and be conducted in a public hearing format. All aspects of the Department needed to be looked at. Galvin closed his remarks by quoting former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who said that “sunlight is the best disinfectant for corruption”. There was some discussion of Galvin’s proposal from the members. The President offered to move the matter to the Board of Directors for further review. No objections were raised.
Massachusetts State Police Deputy Superintendent Barry Obrien addressed the membership at the post meeting luncheon. He disclosed that Governor Baker ordered all state police cruisers to be equipped with GPS locators, and that road Troopers wear body cameras. The Deputy noted that implementation of the Governor’s directive, with regard to the locators, was a complex undertaking, which would require the installation of modems in each of the cruisers. 1.7M has been appropriated to do that. Marked units are currently being monitored through applications in their on- board computer systems, but unmarked units remain un-monitored, pending the installation of the modems. Deputy Obrien also disclosed that several agencies have now inserted themselves into the Department’s operations. The US Attorney’s office, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office were all identified. The Deputy expressed the hope that the identity of the Department would be preserved but he was hesitant to give assurances.
LEGISLATURE ISSUES STATE POLICE REFORM PACKAGE
The Massachusetts Legislature passed several measures in the state budget this year to address the crisis of confidence impacting the state police. The provisions were included in budget amendments. They take a three pronged approach toward reforming the “embattled” Mass State Police. A new independent audit unit has been created and has been assigned to the Massachusetts State Police to monitor all internal expenditures. A legislative commission has been established to review the hiring, transfer and promotional practices of the Department, and experts at the University of Massachusetts in Boston will begin an examination of the Department’s management structure and will offer recommendations for change. (Reported by Lowell Sun)