For years, Massachusetts police chiefs say, they’ve been ignored by state lawmakers. Now, police say legislators are threatening their safety—and the safety of the public—through proposed police reform measures.
“Law enforcement in Massachusetts is under attack by a liberal element that wants to bring shame (to police officers) that none of us understand,” said Hampden Police Chief Jeff Farnsworth, president of the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, on Tuesday. Massachusetts police have been leading the way in model police standards in the United States for years – but those efforts haven’t been acknowledged by legislators, he said.
Farnsworth was joined by nearly 100 of the state’s 351 police chiefs Tuesday morning in Framingham to criticize two police reform bills that were recently moved by the Senate and House. The chiefs urged Gov. Charlie Baker and state legislators to work with police on the legislation instead of cutting them out of the conversation, MetroWestDaily reports.
On July 14, the Massachusetts Senate introduced a police reform bill limiting use of force tactics, which includes banning chokeholds and limiting tear gas use. It also includes licensing all police officers and developing a new independent commission—the Police Officer Standards and Accreditation Committee—to certify all law enforcement officers and renew, revoke or modify those licenses.
Massachusetts is one of few states that does not have a statewide law enforcement certification program.