Prior to 1992, the Commissioner of Public Safety was responsible for giving SSPO their police powers under Chapter 147 of the G.L.'s. With the merger of the Mets, Registry, Capital Police with the MSP - the Commissioner of Public Safety's position and authority was re-defined. The Colonel of the MSP became the appointing Authority for SSPO's under Chapter 22c of the G.L.'s. Col. Charles Henderson was at the helm. He was somewhat unfamiliar with the whole SSPO program and decided to meet with the leadership from the College and University group of SSPO's. We were called the Massachusetts Association of College & University Public Safety Directors at the time. One of the major issues for the Colonel was the issues of standards of training for SSPO's - There simply was none.
Let me give you the information I am aware of concerning the training of SSPO's prior to 1992 - Since there was no standard every SSPO entity was pretty much on its own. In the early 1970's a group of College and University Public Safety Directors (Chiefs of Campus Police from MIT, Northeastern, Harvard, Tufts, Bentley, BU, Brandeis & Wellesley) got together and started to meet monthly or so to discuss common issues. They soon formed the MACUPSD association. A major issue for them of course was training, so they formed a sub-committee on training.
The sub-committee developed their own 4 week training program for new Officers. They approached the MSP in the mid 70's and for a 3 year period the MSP delivered a 4 week basic recruit training program in Framingham at their academy. They did this every 2 months or so and trained hundreds of officers. In 1997 because of budget problems the training stopped. The Association then approached the MCJTC and asked if they could send officers to their basic recruit program. They were accepted and the larger Institutions began sending their new recruits to the Council's program. This practice continues today for most of the larger Universities in the Boston area (MIT, BU, BC & Harvard).
From the mid 80's to the early 90's there was no other venue for training for those Colleges and Universities that did not send their folks to the MCJTC program - most used their own OJT program coupled with the Reserve/Intermittent Academy (part time 96 hour program offered by the MCJTC).
In 1992 or early 1993, Colonel Henderson brought together his academy folks (headed by Lt. Phil Trapasso at the time), folks from the MCJTC (headed by Howard Liebowicz) and the sub-committee of the MACUPSD organization (Jack Hanlon, Dick Natoli and Jim Ferrier). Our charge was to develop the curriculum for a basic recruit academy training program for Campus Police Officers. We came up with a 320 hour program. The first 2 were delivered by the MCJTC at their Burlington, Ma. Site. In 1994 or so the MSP delivered their first basic recruit training program to SSPO's in New Braintree.
After each iteration, the staff of the academy would review the students critiques of the program with the MACUPSD sub-committee folks and the program curriculum would be tweaked. Over the years it has grown from an eight week program to the sixteen week program we have now.
The SSPO Staff would like to thank Chief Jack Hanlon of WPI (retired Major from the Mass State Police) for his rendition of the History of the Special State Police Officers Program. Thank you.