The Massachusetts Coalition of Police (MassCOP) is committed to bringing about constructive reform to policing and law enforcement across the Commonwealth. We have been positive and collaborative participants in the process since this important public conversation was initiated.
Unfortunately, the process in the Senate was almost completely lacking in transparency and inclusion of important stakeholders. The resulting Bill was grossly deficient and harmful to not only police, but to all citizens of the Commonwealth.
We continue to be hopeful that House leadership and members will produce a Bill that proposes positive change, enhanced policing standards and the preservation of all officers’ basic rights. Many of the more than 200 amendments filed – coupled with inflammatory rhetoric from some lawmakers – were both alarming and a disappointment in their misunderstanding of law enforcement and punitive tone. Sadly, as more than 16,000 officers statewide go to work each day at risk of not returning to their families – there are those on Beacon Hill who wish to punish police officers just for being police officers.
This is wrong.
The cornerstone of truly comprehensive reform is the accreditation of all police departments in every community across Massachusetts. Coupled with a robust process for certifying all officers, accreditation could be the most transformational step in improving policing and accountability within any department. Police officers have a right to due process in all formal actions involving their employment, and those rights must be preserved. And, finally, officers and other public servants should NOT be stripped of the qualified immunity that protects them and their families from frivolous lawsuits, and if removed, could have devastating financial consequences for cities and towns at a time municipal budgets are facing historic crises.
We ask people across the Commonwealth to join us today in asking the House to show true leadership – by delivering a Bill that enhances policing, represents real reform, and respects the dedication and commitment of every officer who takes the oath to protect and serve.
First Vice President