NEW IDEAS FROM THE “OLD SCHOOL”

Member Editorial

NEW IDEAS FROM THE “OLD SCHOOL”  

By James Martin ( SSGT Mass State Police ret)           

  First off, I wish to thank the Board of Directors for accepting me among your ranks.  I believe that all legislation being discussed at the State House will be rushed, not thought out, and passed, with a strong lean to the far left. I would like to see that whatever comes out of committee, and is finally voted upon, be some type of sunset legislation that must be reviewed in calmer times. I would suggest, a legislative statutory review date of let’s say two to three years. My public and personal position for the past fifty years has been that both the State and Municipal police have been mismanaged, with negative leadership.  I believe that this can be positively addressed by MAPLE’s position of requiring certain educational requirements for entry and promotion within the ranks.  This will be a major fight with the unions, politicians and institutes of higher education.  Colleges must review their curriculums and provide course work that develops an officer in an educational environment, and can articulate the law enforcement mission.  Courses must be of high quality, offerings like patrol procedures should be relegated to basic recruit curriculum.  The attending officer must be challenged at a higher intellectual level.  Professors must require strict attendance, examinations and participation.   Professors have been complicit in giving some a free ride, by inflating marks and turning a blind eye to attendance.  Student performance should be reported in writing to the chief or the authority that is administering any incentive program.In summary, I am concerned that we will get a bill that will be sent to the Governor, that will hurt and disrupt our profession for years to come.  It is imperative that whatever comes out of this committee be legislatively reviewed down the road.  The Bottom line:  politicians and the public must address what we are facing through an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one.On the issue of “defunding”.  This is a nonsense word, which is misused by the public and fueled by the radical left and the media.  The real issue is budgetary.  Government has long been inflating budgets.  Police departments and all governmental budget requests must be thought out as to fixed needs and capital improvements.  They must be submitted as line items and reviewed with justification required for each item.  We as law enforcement professionals must support and lobby for our social workers and medical support people.  I believe that personnel from these professions will be integrated into Law Enforcement in the near future.  We must start to looking to the future and not remain mired in the past.With regard to the Massachusetts State Police, the issue of having the Colonel promoted from the ranks must be rejected.  I rejected it years ago (submitting an official position paper through channels).  It is my belief that the selection of Colonel should involve a national search in order to select the best possible candidate.  The Colonel should be appointed through a contractual arrangement for a set term of years, and should have full police powers.  This approach worked in Rhode Island.  When Colonel Stone died in office, Rhode Island conducted a nationwide search hiring retired NYSP officer Edmund Culhane.  He led that department for ten years and was highly respected.   He led the Rhode Island State Police out of the virtual “stone age” into 21st Century Policing.I have other issues that I feel strongly about and I realize that this is a disjointed epistle but I am prepared to assist MAPLE in any way that it sees fit.   While I am “old school” I acknowledge that the old ways must change to meet the present and future demands facing our profession.  I still believe that our present troopers are mostly good guys and gals, who we must always support. ( Note About The Author:Jim Martin is a retired Staff Sergeant Mass State Police.  His career spanned the years from 1959 to 1979.  He then went onto become a Chief of Police in Rhode Island until his retirement.   Jim was one of the first to take advantage of the higher education opportunities presented by the old Law Enforcement Assistance Administration in 1968.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and was the first on the Mass State Police to earn one. His last MSP assignment was as the director of training.  His opinions are informed by direct and significant historical experience.)
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