Governor Baker Signs Historic Police Reform Bill
Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker signed into law today a comprehensive police reform bill, which will allow for the certification and decertification of all police officers in this Commonwealth, by a nine member board comprised largely of non-law enforcement members. Governor Baker issued the following statement upon signing the bill: “ I am honored to sign a comprehensive bipartisan police reform bill, that creates a certification process for police officers, increases accountability and gives police the ability to hire or promote only qualified officers.” While the bill struck sections that would have transferred the duties of the Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC) to the newly created Police Officer Standards and Training Commission ( POST), it, nevertheless, mandates a very close working partnership between the two entities.
The new law also mandates: critical stress reduction training for police officers to help reduce officer suicides; de-escalation training to reduce use of force incidents, and it grants new consolidated authority to the MPTC to oversee MBTA transit police training, campus police training and training for deputy sheriffs. Implementation will be phased in over the coming year. A ban on choke holds will be effect immediately. The POST commission will be established by July 1, 2021, and a transfer of all disciplinary records for police officers in this Commonwealth to the POST commission will be done the following September.
This is a historic and monumental piece of police reform legislation, which establishes a central authority accountable for all police performance and conduct issues within this Commonwealth. The enactment of this law followed a very sustained and intense lobbying effort in which MAPLE played a part. It is imperative that those concerned with police reform remain involved with this issue and continue to work cooperatively and aggressively to shape this new authority in a manner that will ensure safe, effective and constitutional policing.