BOSTON, Mass (WWLP) – A study released Monday by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump has found that Massachusetts doesn’t provide enough training opportunities to allow officers to meet annual training requirements.
Massachusetts has one of the highest hourly requirements for in-service police training in the nation at 40 hours of in-service training annually. According to the study the state has no mechanism to hold officers and municipalities accountable for meeting the requirements.
Massachusetts is also one of four states that do not have a police licensure and certification process in place for in-service training.
The study urges the state to use the recently enacted rental car surcharge to supplement existing financial support for the Municipal Police Training Committee while taking steps to strengthen facilities, improve guidance on training requirements, and expand accountability.
The rental surcharge puts a $2 surcharge on rental vehicle contracts to help pay for police training through the MPTC. The report estimates this new fee will generate approximately $5.7 to $6.2 million in revenue in 2019, far short of the $10 million some estimated it would generate. Bump warns that although this additional source of funding is a step in the right direction, the revenue produced is still not enough to cover the full costs of in-service training.
“Modern policing requires that officers have access to cutting-edge training on topics such as de-escalation and dealing with individuals with mental health or substance use challenges. However, it is clear the Commonwealth’s approach to police training has strained municipal government budgets and left local departments to fill the gaps left by the state. By bolstering funding, expanding training opportunities, improving facilities, and increasing accountability, we can ensure that men and women in local law enforcement have the skills to keep our communities safe.”– State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
The study estimates that as many as 30 local police departments may not be meeting the Commonwealth’s in-service training requirements and as many as nine of those departments may not provide any training at all. In order to improve this, Bump has called on the Legislature to establish a Police Officer Standards and Training system that would set minimum standards, regulate training programs and curricula and set standards for maintenance of police licensure or certification.
“Limited funding and a lack of sufficient training resources from the state have forced local departments to forge ahead on their own paths to meet this important need. I strongly encourage state leaders to act on the recommendations that are made in this report to ensure that all local law enforcement officers have access to consistent, high-quality training that will help them keep their communities safe and secure.”-Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, who also serves as the president of the Massachusetts Major Cities Chiefs of Police