MAPLE Delegation Meets With State Representative Dave Vieira
A MAPLE delegation met with state representative Dave Vieira at the Statehouse Wednesday to discuss the status of the Police Officer Standards and Training legislation, that he and state representative Russell Holmes filed last year. He informed the delegation, that the bill was refilled on February 26, 2019, and has been identified as H2146, entitled: “an act to study and make recommendations concerning the implementation of a Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) system”. The MAPLE delegation consisted of Chief Ed Denmark from the Harvard MA police department, former Peabody Chief Bob Champagne and President Dennis Galvin. The members met with Representative Vieira for over an hour. He welcomed the support of the group and indicated his willingness to keep us informed of the bill’s progress. MAPLE re-affirmed its support for the bill and offered to assist the effort to move it forward. There has been no change in the wording of the bill from its previous filing.
Vieira commented on what it would take to move the bill forward. The original stakeholders would have to be reassembled, which he said he would do, and he offered to include MAPLE. A public hearing would have to be conducted. MAPLE offered to participate. Vieira would then have to get 25 legislators to certify the bill, so that he could demonstrate sufficient support to move it to the floor. He was confident that he could do that.
Governor Baker has begun to move to the table on this issue as well. Vieira informed the delegation that Jennifer Quealy, his Undersecretary for Public Safety has been tasked with attempting to identify parties interested in this legislation. He did not know, what the disposition of Thomas Turco, the newly appointed Secretary of Public Safety would be toward it.
Vieira made it clear that this bill would not authorize the imposition of any standards on the state’s police service. It would only authorize the selected panel to establish the framework for a POST system. The framework would then have to be approved by the legislature.
Representative Vieira shared his thoughts about the bill’s failure in the last session. He said that the issue that needed to be overcome was that pertaining to the certification and decertification of police officers. He said that this caused some qualms among the original backers, one of whom pulled support from the bill at the last minute. Vieira asked if MAPLE could prepare a “white paper” outlining the advantages of a POST system, particularly from a risk management perspective. We agreed to assist.
The meeting with Representative Vieira proved very fruitful. He appeared very comfortable and knowledgeable in discussing issues concerning police reform. The President mentioned that MAPLE was working on another initiative relative to educational qualifications for police officers and asked if the organization could discuss that with him, when ready. He welcomed the opportunity to have that discussion.