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Massachusetts Governor proposes bonuses for officers who participate in de-escalation training

The bill is aimed at creating more accountability and transparency in police departments across the state

BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a bill last Wednesday aimed at holding police officers in the state more accountable and would provide bonuses for officers seeking de-escalation training

The bill, titled An Act to Improve Police Officer Standards and Accountability and to Improve Training, would require police officers in Massachusetts to be certified. It is the first time officers in the state would require certification. The bill also allows for the decertification of officers, suspension of certification, or reprimand in the event of any officer misconduct. 

The bill also proposes the creation of the Police Officer Standards and Accreditation (POSA) Committee. The committee, according to the bill, would consist of law enforcement and civilian representatives, at least half of whom would be required to be persons of color. 

“This bill will create a more modern, transparent, and accountable system for law enforcement credentialing and training. It will 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,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

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Lt. Governor Kayrn Polito said that the bill allows police departments to make better-informed recruitment and hiring choices as well as improving accountability.

“Massachusetts is one of four states without a police certification process,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “But the high standards of training we require for our police departments give us a strong foundation on which to build one."

The proposed bill would also provide incentives for law enforcement officers who pursue advanced training in relevant skills and specialties beyond the levels required of all police officers. That training includes foreign languages, advanced domestic violence, and sexual assault response, advanced de-escalation techniques, and other high-level proficiencies.