The Baker-Polito Administration filed legislation on Wednesday to create a framework for certifying Massachusetts law enforcement officers, provide accountability, ensure that police departments in and outside Massachusetts have access to candidates’ training and disciplinary records, and provide incentives for officers to pursue advanced training to better serve their communities.

The move comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. His death and several others at the hands of police have been decried by Black Lives Matter and other groups around the country. Floyd's death, besides leading to protests and riots in major cities, has also led to calls to defund police departments. We have even seen that here locally, where in Pittsfield city councilors voted to cut $100,000 from the police department budget and to reallocate $85,000 from police patrols to an effort to get contracts done with additional crisis clinicians.

The Governor says that the bill would create a transparent and accountable system for police training…

This bill will create a more modern, transparent, and accountable system for law enforcement credentialing and training. It will provide police departments with the tools they need to build trust and strong relationships with every community across the Commonwealth—at a time when we need it most ~ Governor Charlie Baker.

The bill, entitled An Act to Improve Police Officer Standards and Accountability and to Improve Training, would for the first time require police officers in Massachusetts to be certified, and it would allow for decertification, suspension of certification, or reprimand in the event of certain misconduct. Toward this end, the bill would create the Police Officer Standards and Accreditation (POSA) Committee, which would be comprised of law enforcement and civilian representatives, at least half of whom would be required to be persons of color.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito says that Massachusetts is one of four states without a police certification process...

But the high standards of training we require for our police departments give us a strong foundation on which to build one. This bill will allow police departments to make better-informed recruitment and hiring choices while improving accountability for all the communities we serve ~ Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito