BOSTON – A bill moving through the Senate Ways and Means Committee would create a new Police Officer Standards and Accreditation Committee that would certify law enforcement and be able to revoke or modify that certification, along with investigating misconduct complaints.
Officers would need to be re-certified every three years, under the bill, and the committee would have to maintain a publicly searchable database of complaints against officers.
The bill also proposes requiring law enforcement officers to intervene if another is using unnecessary force and would limit use of “tear gas or other chemical weapons, rubber pellets or dogs to control or influence another person’s behavior,” according to the committee.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee began polling its members on the bill Sunday evening, with the poll set to close at 10 a.m., ahead of a 10:30 a.m. press conference where Senate President Karen Spilka and other senators planned to detail their proposed police reform legislation.
After national protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo expressed interest in passing a police reform bill by the July 31 end of formal sessions.
The House so far has outlined broad principles for reform, and has not released a formal legislative proposal, making it unclear how much common ground the two branches will share on specifics of their bills.
Gov. Charlie Baker also filed his own police certification bill. The Senate’s bill would also remove the requirement that the State Police colonel be appointed from within the ranks of the department, a change Gov. Baker sought in separate legislation.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee estimated the annual cost of its police reform package at $5 million.
The bill also would establish a Commission on the Status of African Americans and require the Municipal Police Training Committee to “to include training on the history of slavery, lynching, racist legal institutions and racism in the United States in its in-service training,” according to a summary.
This is a developing story.