BOSTON (SHNS) – The police oversight panel created in a new law enforcement reform statute will turn to the state Gaming Commission to select its top staffer, a move that could again trim the gaming regulatory body just after it gained a new member.
Enrique Zuniga, a member of the Gaming Commission since its inception in 2012, will take over next week as executive director of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, officials announced Wednesday. Zuniga, whose appointment to the POST Commission takes effect Monday, said in a statement that he is “ready to implement the statute and policy directives of the POST Commission and collaborate with Commissioners and stakeholders with a focus on transparency, progress and results to enhance public confidence.”
His addition is another major step as the oversight panel, created in the police reform law Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Dec. 31, ramps up its work to certify, regulate and oversee law enforcement officers in Massachusetts. “Enrique brings decades of valuable experience in public and private sector jobs to this position, including several roles with the Commonwealth,” said POST Commission Chair Margaret Hinkle, a retired judge. “As the POST Commission continues our work to improve public safety and increase trust between law enforcement and our communities, I am confident Enrique’s deep knowledge of building organizations and proven results-driven approach will be beneficial to our ongoing work.”
Baker swore in the nine POST members in April, and the panel issued guidance for how law enforcement should interact with minor children on June 30. Zuniga will resign from the Gaming Commission effective Friday, according to a MGC spokesperson. The commission spent most of the year operating with four members, one fewer than usual, after former Commissioner Bruce Stebbins left Jan. 1 to join the Cannabis Control Commission. Former Rep. Brad Hill resigned from the House this week and started as a gaming commissioner on Thursday, restoring it to a full five members, and Zuniga’s departure could again leave the panel shorthanded.