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Police Training Initiative
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FY2011 House 2 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
The Governor’s fiscal year 2011 budget includes an initiative to fund police training through an automobile insurance surcharge. This surcharge will fund two programs: the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) and an annual state police class. The surcharge will provide $3.1 million at the MPTC for municipal police and college police training, and $3.2 million at the State Police Department for state police officer training.
MPTC provides vital support for hundreds of cities and towns across the Commonwealth, many of which are too small to operate their own police training academies. In fiscal year 2010, MPTC is funded at $2.9 million, and MPTC has struggled to offer comprehensive programming at this funding level. As a result, training programs have not been updated, and there are not enough training instructors. Once the surcharge is fully implemented, it is projected that MPTC will have the available funds to streamline programming and expand the curriculum to improve the training of municipal police officers.
Currently, there is no dedicated funding for annual state police classes, which are essential to maintaining a fully-staffed and diverse state police force. In the past, state police classes are typically funded through a line item in the budget or through a supplemental budget; however, both the amount and availability of funding have been inconsistent from year to year. Since fiscal year 2002, a new state police class has been included in an annual budget only twice and through a supplemental budget once. This initiative will revise the current curriculum, ensure state police officers are receiving quality in-service trainings, and annually fund training for a state police class of 80 recruits.
The surcharge will apply to private auto insurance policies at a rate of $1.60-$2.00 per policy per year. Currently, Massachusetts has approximately 3.1 million private auto insurance policies. This surcharge will generate enough revenue to fund both programs.
The Municipal Police Training Committee
The MPTC is statutorily mandated to provide municipal police training to the approximately 16,000 municipal police officers in the Commonwealth. Each year, 650 new municipal officers are hired and these officers are required to complete a 21-week, 800-hour recruit academy.
The MPTC has 5 regional municipal police academies located in Randolph (headquarters), Boylston, Plymouth, Reading and New Bedford. With the additional funding, the MPTC will conduct evaluations of instructors and their material to ensure uniformity. Specialized police training, such as drug raid planning and investigation, arson investigations and K-9 training will have their curricula updated.
An Annual State Police Class
Historically, the State Police Department holds a training class when only the number of troopers reaches a critically low level. This has an adverse impact on overtime costs and deployment flexibility. With the $3.2 million from the automobile insurance surcharge, the State Police will hold a yearly class for 80 new troopers. This will bring consistency to state police levels, contain overtime costs and provide deployment efficiencies. In addition, a large number of troopers, approximately 300, are eligible for retirement. An annual state police class will help to address the backfill of troopers in a timely manner so as to not jeopardize public safety.
The surcharge on auto insurance for private policies will provide a needed and dedicated revenue stream to support police training. A comprehensive training program for municipal police officers and consistent state police classes will improve community and officer safety.
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