In July 2018, the Legislature created the Division of State Police Oversight (“Division”) through the passage of M.G.L. c. 22C, § 72. (M.G.L. c. 22C, § 72, was passed through the enactment of Section 23 of Chapter 154 of the Acts of 2018). The Legislature established the Division to monitor the quality, efficiency and integrity of the Massachusetts State Police (“MSP”). The Division’s scope encompasses, but is not limited to, (1) monitoring the quality, efficiency and integrity of the MSP’s operations, organizational structure and management functions; (2) seeking to prevent, detect and correct fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public funds; and (3) monitoring policy changes instituted as a result of the MSP’s certification or accreditation by a state or national police accrediting agency pursuant to M.G.L. c. 22C, § 73. Its enabling statute requires the DSPO to publish an annual report each March. Below are highlights from that report.
The Division formally commenced operations in December 2018, after an extensive search for the Director that began in August 2018. During its first weeks of operation, the Division obtained and reviewed MSP’s primary policies, procedures, rules, regulations and collective bargaining agreements and met with the entire MSP command staff.
The Division’s main focus to date has been monitoring the MSP’s efforts to obtain certification or accreditation. To that end, the MSP submitted an application seeking certification to the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (“MPAC”), hired a full-time accreditation manager whose sole job function is to guide the MSP through the accreditation process, and is currently in the self-assessment phase toward achieving certification. During the self-assessment phase, the MSP is engaged in a comprehensive self-review of its operations, policies, procedures, rules and regulations to assure compliance with MPAC’s established standards. This process is time-consuming; its length varies from police organization to police organization depending on its size.