Governor’s amendment to police reform, as adopted.

On December 10, 2020 Governor Baker returned the police reform bill with an amendment, cautioning the legislature that he would not sign the bill unless it were re-enacted with his amendment. On December 21, 2020 the legislature re-enacted the bill, with a compromise amendment that contained many elements of his amendment. The Governor signed the bill as amended into law. The following is a brief description of the changes made to the conference committee bill in the compromise amendment:

POST Commission:

  • Requires that the Commissioner who is a law enforcement officer below the rank of sergeant, is appointed from a list submitted by the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Policy Group, which is a labor organization.
  • Establishes that certification standards for officers are developed “jointly” with MPTC, as opposed to full approval authority.
  • Establishes that agency certification standards are developed “in consultation” with MPTC.
  • Changes division of training and certification to become division of certification; no training mandates; certification developed jointly with MPTC.
  • Imposes a one year timeline on local agency action on discipline.
  • Adds a possible six months for officer requested hearing on good cause shown.
  • Establishes that the MPTC and POST shall jointly promulgate rules and regulations for the use of force by law enforcement officers.

MPTC

  • Establishes that MPTC remain under Governor as a commission; retains current name but accepts membership tweaks from conference committee bill.
  • Establishes that its primary mandate is training, not certification — “jointly” establishes officer certification standards with “division of police certification”
  • Reverses State Police training changes – not folded under MPTC, authority for training stays with the Colonel.
  • MPTC retains authority to approve municipal training schools subject to approval of Governor.
  • Strikes changes training funding structure.
  • Establishes sole authority to set standards for admission to committee-certified academies.
  • Establishes that the MPTC and POST shall jointly promulgate rules and regulations for the use of force by law enforcement officers.
  • Establishes that MPTC maintains training records.
  • Establishes mental health officers mandate under the committee.

Biometric Surveillance Ban

  • Reverses permanent ban on facial recognition. Instead, establishes limits on the use of facial recognition. Law enforcement agencies may only perform such a search after a written request to the RMV, FBI or State Police pursuant to a court order or without a court order if there is a substantial risk of harm to any individual.
  • Requires law enforcement agencies shall report each facial recognition search to EOPSS, who will publish an annual report.
  • Establishes a special commission to conduct a study on the use of facial recognition and make recommendations for the regulation of its use

Use of Force Standards

  • Establishes that the MPTC and POST shall jointly promulgate rules and regulations for the use of force by law enforcement officers.
  • Strikes definitions of imminent harm, necessary, and totality of circumstances.

No-knock warrants

  • Adds exception to prohibition on no-knock warrants where minors are seniors are reasonably believed to be in the home, if there is a credible risk of imminent harm to such minors or seniors.

State Police

  • Establishes State Police subject to certification by POST.
  • Retains Colonel to oversee training.

Bias Free Policing

  • Adds language to narrow the definition of “bias free policing.”

Timeline

  • Establishes new effective dates, and deadlines:
    • Disciplinary records transferred by September 30, 2021, not June
    • Grandfathers academy participants in the pipeline to be appointed by December 1, 2021
    • Organizational sections take effect later.
    • Use of force standards timeline unchanged.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *