Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin announced several reforms to MSP policies and procedures.
The announcements come amid several scandals surrounding Massachusetts State Police, including an investigation into overtime pay and an alleged police report cover-up.
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ELIMINATE TROOP E: Officials announced that Troop E, which patrols the Massachusetts Turnpike, will be eliminated as a stand-alone section. This comes after an audit of overtime payments to Troop E personnel. The existing Mass Pike barracks will be absorbed into other regional Troops and Troopers working out of those four barracks will be reassigned. The restructuring will allow for more supervision within each Troop.
ACTIVATE AVL TECHNOLOGY: Automated Vehicle Location system, a GPS locator that is in each marked cruiser, will now be turned on in every MSP vehicle.
DEVELOP BODY CAMERAS: The department is also working to develop a body camera program, which has already been piloted by the Boston Police Department.
30-DAY AUDIT OF TURNPIKE BARRACKS: Over the next 30 days, Col. Gilpin will also conduct a study of the patrols and overtime shifts worked in each Turnpike barracks. The audit will help Gilpin identify resources and figure out how many patrols need to be assigned to each barrack.
30-DAY AUDIT OF TROOP F: MSP will also look into staffing at Troop F - which is responsible for Logan Airport, Worcester Airport and Hanscom Airport, along with other Port Authority properties. The audit may show that more personnel should be assigned to Troop F to reduce the amount of overtime shifts.
HIRE INDEPENDENT AUDITING FIRM: Col. Gilpin will hire an independent auditing firm to assess overtime policies, protocols and record management.
STRENGTHEN STAFF INSPECTION, INTERNAL AFFAIRS: Ten new positions have been created between the department's Staff Inspections Section and Internal Affairs Section. These departments ensure all sections adhere to policies, rules and regulations, and investigates citizen complaints against the department.
AUDIT OF TOP EARNERS: On a quarterly basis, MSP will audit its top 50 pay earners. These audits will be made public.
UPDATED PAYROLL SYSTEM: By July 1, Troop F - which previously was paid by Massport - will now be paid directly by State Police and the department will be reimbursed by Massport.
UPDATED QUESTIONNAIRES FOR RECRUITS: The department will refine and add more to the questionnaires recruit candidates are required to complete. It will also look into additional research measures for background investigators.
State Police Union Response:
Union president Dana Pullman said this is frustrating to state police troopers, especially for the men and women who were truly out there, doing their jobs.
“It’s embarrassing for all of us, it truly is. that still hasn’t been brought to fruition yet. Innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Pullman said the union didn't know about this morning’s meeting, and he is not happy about it. When asked about gps' in all cruisers...
“Let’s face it, 99 percent of the guys are doing their job day in and day out. Characterizing it as they need this thing, I don’t agree,” he said.
Cox Media Group