I am writing to you on behalf of the Massachusetts Association For Professional Law Enforcement, an organization of current and former police officers dedicated to the professionalization of the police in this Commonwealth. We are encouraged by recent press reports, which indicate that you are considering a third party management review of the Massachusetts State Police. We are concerned, however, that such a review may not sufficiently address the public trust concerns, that have been raised by the extent and depth of the corruption allegations made against the Department.
The Massachusetts State Police is one of the most vital institutions in this Commonwealth. It is the central state agency for maintaining public order, providing homeland security and for interdicting international drug and terror organizations seeking to operate within our state. The prominence of the State Police role makes it imperative, that every step possible be taken to ensure the transparency and competence of this review. We re-iterate our earlier recommendation, to convene a “Blue Ribbon” commission to conduct a stem to stern review of the organization. Such a review must lead to a logical and impartial reform agenda. We fear that anything less will not sufficiently rectify the damage done to the public reputation of the Department.
By definition, a “Blue Ribbon Commission” is a panel comprised of subject matter experts, who are convened to solve a problem. Such commissions have been convened in Los Angeles, New York and Boston to address wide spread allegations of police corruption or brutality. Based upon our collective experience, it is our judgement that the current situation facing the Massachusetts State Police rises to this level of response. For this reason, we offer you the following specific recommendations:
- The commission should be comprised of no less than five members, who have both the requisite education and experience to evaluate an organization on the scale of the Department of State Police
- Representation on the panel must reflect the gender and minority composition of the Commonwealth
- The Commission should have the authority to compel witness testimony and produce records essential to a proper evaluation of the management structure and practices of the Mass State Police
- A formal record of the Commission’s proceeding should be made and the proceedings should be open to the public.
- Most importantly, we believe that appointees to this Commission should have minimal ties to the Massachusetts political establishment.
The crisis of confidence facing the Massachusetts State Police strikes at the very heart of the public’s trust and confidence in our state government. This matter must not be taken lightly. It is absolutely imperative that a review of the State Police be conducted competently, impartially and comprehensively. To do less, is to betray a legacy of fair and open government, for which this Commonwealth has long been known. Our organization stands ready to assist you in any way that we can.
Dennis J. Galvin
“The law will never be respected until those who enforce it are.”