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Division of State Police Oversight Annual Report 2019: The Massachusetts State Police Efforts to Achieve Certification or Accreditation

As part of its legislative mandate, the Division is charged with monitoring policy changes the MSP institutes as a result of its efforts to become certified or accredited by a state or national accrediting agency.

The certification or accreditation process for any police organization, regardless of size, generally consists of two major components:

  1. establishing administrative and operational standards for the police organization to meet; and
  2. assessing the police organization to ensure it meets these standards.

This generally entails a top-to-bottom review and, when necessary, revision of the organization’s policies and procedures.

Table of Contents


In early 2019, the MSP submitted an application seeking certification to the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (“MPAC”) and hired an accreditation manager whose sole job function is to guide the agency through the accreditation process. The accreditation manager is a recently retired, experienced MSP captain who has worked in every MSP division. The Division is in regular contact with the MSP’s accreditation manager, monitoring and assessing the MSP’s progress.

The MSP currently operates under the direction of 148 policies and procedures codified in over 600 pages and categorized under the following ten articles: Administrative, General, Investigative, Prisoner, Special Occurrences, Support, Tactical Operations, Traffic, Training and Use of Force. Approximately half of the 148 policies conform to the over 350 appropriate certification requirements of MPAC.

In reviewing and revising its non-conforming policies, the MSP chose to first focus on assessing and revising the articles and policies that are paramount to the safety of the public, detainees in MSP custody and troopers.

The MSP is close to completing the review of ten policies directly related to the care and custody of detainees. This review and revision includes close consultation, discussion and debate among subject-matter experts with the knowledge and expertise of MSP operations, the MSP’s accreditation manager, and the MSP’s legal and command staff.

Once the ten policies relevant to detainees in MSP custody are complete, the revised policies will immediately go into effect. This process will continue with regard to the remaining non-conforming polices for the foreseeable future. The Division will continue to monitor the MSP’s progress towards certification and ultimate accreditation and will report on its progress accordingly.

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Date published: February 26, 2020

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