State report finds local police officers aren't getting enough training

BOSTON — A recent report by a state auditor found police in Massachusetts don't receive nearly enough training.

George Price spent years training police officers, but will be the first one to tell you the academy is not enough.

"Current trends change all the time, you see it just turn the news on there are always different situations that police officers can be better trained at dealing with," said Price, a former Federal Agent and Tactical Training Instructor. "Whether firearms training, responding to sexual assault, being homicide investigators or learning how to de-escalate [situations] - that stuff needs to be kept up with by people who know what they’re talking about. I know how to teach [that] here to the police officers so it’s almost more important than the academy."

All 15,000 police officers in Massachusetts are supposed to spend around 40 hours of in-service training every year, but according to a new report from the state auditor there are only enough funds to pay for about 5,000 officers' training.

"We do the best we can with the local funding that we have, but we are restricted, there are other training opportunities we would like to pursue but there’s only so much money in each individual communities," said a Chelsea Police Officer.

The money that funds that training comes from $2 surcharges tacked onto car or truck rentals, but the report from state auditor Suzanne Bump shows that's not nearly enough.

"It’s important for the police so they are feeling more capable of their ability to deal with some of these difficult interpersonal reactions, but it’s also good for the public to be able to relate to police in different ways and they themselves will feel more safe," said Bump.

According to Price, Massachusetts doesn't have enough money to fund the training, the facilities are really old, there aren't enough trained instructors and there's "not enough space to train police officers consistently after they graduate and because of that there’s no uniformity across the cities and towns."

Some departments in the state are so low on funds they reported zero hours of in-service training to the state auditor.

Without a uniform training system, cities will be held liable for issues that come up due to the lack of training, causing the lawsuits to be more expensive than any initial training would have been.

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