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City Council Supports Bill for Police Officer Certification

During the weekly City Council meeting on June 17, City Councilor Andrea Campbell (District 4) offered a resolution to support the Bipartisan House Bill H.2146 that would require a special commission on establishing a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) system.

Under this system, municipal police officers would require certification. This would ensure that municipalities across the Commonwealth are all meeting a uniform standard of training.

Protesters march to the State House during the May 31st protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Photo by Alyssa Nations.

On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker announced his administration was filing a police reform bill that supported the POST system and outlined additional requirements.

Under the bill, the certification process would require renewal every three years. It would also create a database of all certified police officers along with their conduct reports, which would be accessible to future employers.

“There are only six states in the country that do not have this type of licensing and decertification mechanism for law enforcement. Massachusetts is one, Minnesota was another,” Councilor Michelle Wu (At-Large) said on Wednesday afternoon.

If the bill passes, it would be the first time that Massachusetts police officers have required certification. Under this legislation, individuals who display misconduct could be subject to decertification, suspension of their certification, or other consequences.

Any officers who are found to use an excessive amount of force, such as a chokehold, or did not intervene in an instance where another officer was not upholding certain standards would automatically be decertified.

The new bill would also offer incentives for police officers to pursue advanced training and education that focuses on deescalation, community building collaboration, human rights, and bias.

This legislature comes forward after the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked outrage across the country.