Overview

The recognition that the public is best served by a well-educated and trained public safety force dates to the late 19th century. Acknowledging this, Massachusetts has a police training system that starts at the recruit phase and continues with annual in-service training. This reflects a recognition of the complexities of emerging issues within the law enforcement field. The police training landscape is complex, as there are various mechanisms for training, finance, curriculum requirements, and standards. The Commonwealth has one of the most rigorous annual standards in the nation yet is among the states that contribute the least financially to the provision of training classes, necessitating a substantial investment by our communities in municipal police training.

The purpose of this study is to:

  1. Identify aspects of state law, regulation, and policy that guide in-service municipal police training;
  2. Provide a summary of common trends among municipal police departments regarding how they train police officers in their respective departments;
  3. Create a model to project the cost of in-service training on municipal police departments and the state’s contribution to municipal police training; and
  4. Inform the discussion of police training via a summary of comments from a detailed survey of municipal police chiefs in the Commonwealth.

In conducting this study, the Division of Local Mandates (DLM) issued a survey to all local police departments asking questions on their financing, staffing, and training practices. A summary of these survey results can be found in Appendix D. We also conducted interviews with stakeholders such as the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, union representatives from the Massachusetts Police Association and Massachusetts Coalition of Police, and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, as well as academics, staff from the Department of Mental Health, staff from the Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council, and independent advocates. In addition to this, we reviewed MPTC documents such as newsletters to police chiefs, monthly meeting minutes, and agendas. A full breakdown of the methodology used in the creation of this report can be found in Appendix B.

Date published: November 18, 2019
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