Gov. Charlie Baker announces the filing of legislation on police reform at a State House press conference on June 17. (Photo courtesy Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office)

The Baker-Polito administration yesterday filed legislation to create a framework for training and certifying Massachusetts law enforcement officers as a prerequisite for appointment at the state and local level.

The bill includes a revocation process for misconduct and unlawful acts.

The proposed system would be administered by a new Police Officer Standards and Accreditation Committee composed of 14 members representing police officers and others, mostly appointed by the governor. A representative from the Attorney General’s Office would serve on the committee. The Municipal Police Training Committee would continue to operate the police training program, which would be restructured and enhanced in the bill.

All police officers would be required to be certified. Certification would last for three years, and officers would be required to complete 120 hours of training.

The bill, An Act to Improve Police Officer Standards and Accountability and to Improve Training, includes new data collection and reporting requirements. Police departments would be required to report to POSAC convictions of police officers for felonies and misdemeanors, separation from service, and sustained internal affairs charges. This information and the certification status of officers would be available to police departments, and some part of it would be made available to the public.

The bill would create a system of accountability, ensure that police departments in and outside Massachusetts have access to candidates’ training and disciplinary records, and provide incentives for officers to pursue advanced training to better serve their communities.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the bill would “provide police departments with the tools they need to build trust and strong relationships with every community across the Commonwealth – at a time when we need it most.”

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Massachusetts is one of just four states without a police certification process, “but the high standards of training we require for our police departments give us a strong foundation on which to build one. This bill will allow police departments to make better-informed recruitment and hiring choices while improving accountability for all the communities we serve.”

The bill would provide incentives for law enforcement officers to pursue advanced training in relevant skills, such as foreign languages, advanced domestic violence and sexual assault response, advanced de-escalation techniques, and other high-level proficiencies.

Overview of Police Officer Standards and Accreditation Legislation from the Baker-Polito Administration (96K PDF)

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