Officials cut the ribbon at a new Municipal Police Training Center in Massachusetts. Photo MTTC -

Officials cut the ribbon at a new Municipal Police Training Center in Massachusetts. Photo MTTC

The Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), an agency within the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), has opened a new municipal police training facility in central Massachusetts to bridge the gap in training for officers.

The MPTC training center in Southbridge is one of several facilities statewide where the MPTC will offer its newly developed Bridge Academy. The 200-hour training program enables local officers who did not previously attend an 800-hour, full-time police academy to earn certification by bridging the gap between any prior training and the new uniform standards now required by law, Athol Daily News reported. The newly created Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission is charged with administering the certification process. To date, 800 officers are enrolled in the bridge program, which is offered free of charge to local departments with officers in need of additional training to meet the law’s requirements.

At the new site, the MPTC will conduct in-person instruction for de-escalation training based on the new use-of-force policies and regulations mandated by the police reform law. Courses will also include police leadership training conducted by FBI-LEEDA, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of School Resource Officers and other police education leaders, according to reports by Telegram & Gazette.

“The opening of MPTC’s Southbridge campus marks an exciting milestone in our continued efforts to ensure the highest level of training standards for police officers throughout the Commonwealth,”  Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said in a press release. “The MPTC, in close coordination with EOPSS, is working diligently to advance the mandates established by the police reform law, including its primary objective to standardize training for all members of law enforcement.”

In recent years, the MPTC has expanded its physical footprint to provide convenient and geographically diverse options for student officers and local police departments. The MPTC operates five academies in Boylston, Plymouth, Randolph, Reading, and Springfield. Additionally, the MPTC offers on-demand training online, and in-person training in Ayer, Dalton, Edgartown, Haverhill, Ipswich, Joint Base Cape Cod, Medfield, and New Braintree. In addition to Southbridge, the MPTC has recently entered into agreements to obtain training space in Holyoke, Lynnfield, and at the Springfield Police Department Firearm Range.