Massachusetts State Police encompasses many specialized units that perform various functions throughout the Commonwealth and assist with partner law enforcement agencies in the interest of public safety.
Table of Contents
The Air Wing provides the Commonwealth and its network of partner public safety agencies with airborne support and serves as the most comprehensive public safety aviation unit in the New England region. Our aircrews remain ready to respond from strategically placed airbases across the Commonwealth 365 days a year.
The Air Wing responds to collaborative missions with state and local assets on search missions for wanted, missing, or endangered persons and conducts airborne incident, scene, and surveillance assessment. Equipped with specialized equipment, aircrews are able to provide commanders with real time video imagery and is often deployed for large public gatherings, disasters, technical rescues, or tactical incidents. Equipment designed for electronic tracking makes these aircrafts a useful tool in the recovery of stolen vehicles and locating emergency locator transmitters (ELT) from down aircrafts or distressed individuals.
Special Tactics and Operations Team (STOP)
The Special Tactical Operations (STOP) Team is a rigorously trained and specially equipped tactical unit charged with executing some of the most dangerous law enforcement missions conducted by the Massachusetts State Police and its partner local and federal agencies. Among STOP's missions are execution of high-risk search and arrest warrants, resolution of situations involving armed barricaded suspects or hostages, and searches for armed suspects, often in challenging environments. The team also assists with dignitary protection, crowd control, and large event security missions. Additionally, STOP Team members provide active shooter and tactical training to other Massachusetts State Police members, local police departments, and federal police teams across the state. Its members are assigned to the unit full-time, and thus are able to dedicate themselves entirely to their specialized critical mission.
Special Emergency Response Team (SERT)
The Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) provides partner agencies with a highly trained and professional field force available on short notice for scenarios such as missing person searches, civil disturbances, special event crowd management, site security, or other situations where a cohesive unit of law enforcement officers may be needed.
For search and rescue, all members of the unit are specially equipped and expertly trained in areas such as search incident management, search methodology, land navigation, search and rescue leadership, pathfinder techniques, and are trained to have a comprehensive background in a large array of search missions.
As a rapid deployment unit set to support local agencies, all members of the unit are also highly trained in defensive tactics, use of specialty control devices, arrest or dispersals of crowds, countermeasures to civil disturbances, and how to work with other support units.
The State Police Marine Unit's mission includes enforcement of state laws and marine regulations in ports, waterways, and coastal areas. Additionally, they provide safety and security zone enforcement, security for critical infrastructure and key resource sites, search and rescue services, ancillary support of other units, and vessel escort security.
The Marine Unit enforces laws on all inland bodies of water, and upon coastal waters out to 3 nautical miles from shore. The unit also assists with the State Police's Underwater Recovery Unit as well as State Police Detective Units in death investigations and evidence recovery.
With regard to coastal security, the Marine Unit provides first responder services and is the primary law enforcement agency for all Department of Conservation (DCR) waterways, including both the Charles and Mystic Rivers. The Marine Unit has jurisdiction over 29 of the 31 Boston Harbor Islands and has primary responsibility to enforce the Logan Airport Seaward Security Zone.
The Mounted Unit provides daily mounted patrols at state parks, beaches, and reservations, with a mission to provide a safe and family-friendly environment for all visitors. Mounted Unit Troopers enforce Massachusetts General Law and Department of Conservation and Recreation rules and regulations, as well as fulfilling a community relations mission. Troopers and their mounts provide security and crowd control at large events, including New England Patriots games at Gillette Stadium, the July 4th celebration on the Esplanade, and the Provincetown Carnival parade, as well as dedicated patrols during spring months at beaches and parks. The unit often participates in community events, where the horses are a popular sight for people of all ages. The Mounted Unit trains monthly with other mounted units from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, as well as the Massachusetts State Police's Air Wing and Special Emergency Response (SERT) Team. These sessions are vital for keeping horses and riders sharp and allowing them to train in communicating with other units in scenarios aimed at familiarizing the animals with loud or chaotic conditions.
The Motorcycle Unit provides traffic escorts for dignitaries and assists with security and traffic operations at large public gatherings and special events. The unit also serves a patrol function, enforcing motor vehicle laws.
The Underwater Recovery Unit, commonly known as the Dive Team, conducts searches and recoveries of persons and evidentiary objects from the Atlantic Ocean along the Massachusetts coast as well as water bodies and waterways throughout the state. Additionally, the unit regularly conducts underwater sweeps of high-profile vessels for hazards or improvised explosive devices. With the exception of the team's commander, unit members perform their dive duties in addition to their regular duty assignments.
The K9 Unit serves as a patrol function and assists in locating missing persons, hiding or fleeing suspects, narcotics, firearms, and cadavers, as well as providing support in other tactical and dynamic situations. The canines and their handlers also routinely participate in community events.
As with any Trooper, the dogs in the unit are dedicated public servants and members of the MSP family and are cared for as such. They live with their Trooper-Handlers and their families, and along with their human partners undergo extensive regular training to develop and maintain their special abilities.
Motor Vehicle Regulatory Section (MVRS)
The Motor Vehicle Regulatory Section handles vehicle inspections and licensing and consists of three subsections:
- Commercial Driver's Licensing
- Salvage Title
- Vehicle Services
The Commercial Driver Licensing section conducts all CDL license testing in the state. Salvage Title conducts inspections of salvage title vehicles. The Vehicle Services section conducts car dealer inspections and often assists with fraudulent title and stolen motor vehicle investigations.
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section (CVES)
The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section (CVES), commonly known as the Truck Team, is responsible for ensuring commercial vehicles are operating safely on Massachusetts roadways. Troopers in the unit conduct safety inspections, staff weigh stations, and assist at commercial vehicle crashes.
High Risk Victims Unit
The High Risk Victims Unit, one of the MSP’s newer units, provides a comprehensive, victim-centered response to sex trafficking cases, often in collaboration with other law enforcement and social service agencies in the state. The Unit's goals include the safe recovery of victims of sexual exploitation, apprehension of perpetrators of sexual exploitation, and training MSP and local police officers, along with social workers, medical staff, and other agencies on how to recognize sexual exploitation. The unit works to improve how the state and partners respond to the problem of sex trafficking, especially concerning the response to commercial sexual exploitation of children. Troopers in the HRVU strive to make contact with victims of sex trafficking, many of whom are under age 18, to support them in breaking the cycle of exploitation and escape lives of prostitution. The unit undertakes its mission with the knowledge that crimes associated with sexual exploitation are inherently violent by nature. Rape, sexual assault, the threat of violence, and actual acts of violence are normal parts of life for victims of sexual exploitation.
The Gang Unit’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all residents of Massachusetts who are adversely affected by gang activity. The unit accomplishes this objective by suppressing criminal gang activity, investigating gang-related crimes and gathering criminal intelligence on known or suspected gang members. To do so, Gang Unit Troopers conduct proactive patrols in high crime areas and locations of known gang activity, conduct enforcement of street-level narcotics and weapons crimes, and cultivate informants and intelligence they can act upon to interdict gang, drug, and gun activity. The unit works in regional teams, often in an undercover capacity. The unit also works with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners on long-term investigations to dismantle street gangs and other criminal organizations. Unit members share expertise and information with partner agencies to increase situational awareness of gang activity. Additionally, Gang Unit Troopers assist other undercover officers at large public events in observing behavioral traits of crowds that can be indicative of threatening or terroristic intentions.
The Gang Unit is comprised of several regional teams responsible for Boston, Metro-Boston, Northeastern, Central and Western Massachusetts, and the Brockton, and New Bedford areas. Troopers conduct their own investigations and operations, and also often work with local police officers and federal agents and participate in joint task forces. The Boston team works closely with the Boston Police Department’s Youth Violence Strike Force.
Cyber Crimes Unit
The Cyber Crime Unit (CCU) conducts technical investigations and provides digital forensic support for the search and seizure of digital evidence in all types of crimes, including: homicides, sexual assaults, child exploitation cases, narcotics violations, financial crimes, cyber stalking, computer intrusions, online fraud, online terroristic threats, swatting, data theft, cyber terrorism, online identity theft, and unlawful access to computer systems and networks. The specially trained Troopers respond 24/7 for investigative and forensic missions. Unit members routinely become involved in some of the most highly technical, complex, and sensitive cases that law enforcement agencies encounter. The CCU supports Massachusetts State Police personnel as well as our local, state, and federal partners. Unit Troopers serve as Task Force Officers on the Homeland Security Investigations-Boston Cyber Crimes and Child Exploitation Group, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Unit, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory. They also have a lead role in the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for Massachusetts.
Collision Analysis & Reconstruction Section (CARS)
The Collision Analysis & Reconstruction (CARS) is primarily responsible for reconstructing motor vehicle crashes that involve fatal or serious injuries in which criminal charges are possible. The unit responds to crashes involving passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicycles, recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and ATVs, and emergency vehicles. CARS investigates crashes on roads under Massachusetts State Police jurisdiction, as well as on city and town roads at the request of local police departments. CARS also assists with other units and police agencies with forensic mapping of incident scenes — including homicides, fires, and aircraft crashes — by collecting data and producing scaled diagrams. Investigative techniques include use of unmanned aerial vehicles and GPS surveying equipment for mapping, analysis of vehicle control module data, reconstruction formulas derived from Newtonian physics regarding bodies in motion, mechanical and electrical vehicle inspections, analysis of lighting, traffic, and road conditions. CARS Troopers specialize (and testify as experts) in the above disciplines, and as such each strives to maintain good standing in the internationally-recognized Accreditation Commission of Traffic Accident Reconstruction.
Traffic Programs Section
The Traffic Programs Section works to reduce the number of crashes involving injuries or fatalities in the state and promote safe driving behaviors. The unit does this through oversight of traffic safety initiatives, including sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, targeted enforcement campaigns, automatic license plate reader programs, Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) programs, and child restraint seatbelt programs. Traffic Program's guiding principles are that data-driven law enforcement remains the main deterrent to aggressive, reckless, and impaired driving, and dangerous driving behavior diminishes when motorists recognize they will be stopped and held accountable for motor vehicle offenses.
Crisis Negotiation Unit
The Crisis Negotiation Unit communicates with people in crisis, hostage, or barricade situations and strives to peacefully defuse each situation. The unit's specialized functions include gathering of information and intelligence that assist with establishing communication with a person in a critical situation. In addition to assisting at critical incidents involving the Massachusetts State Police, often deploying with the Special Tactical Operation Team (STOP), the Crisis Negotiation Unit frequently assists local police departments. The unit conducts monthly training, and members also attend training outside of the Massachusetts State Police.
The Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) is a crime prevention unit whose mission is to investigate and seek prosecution of individuals who violate state or federal statutes related to domestic terrorism, international terrorism, terroristic threats and acts of violence. The unit was formed in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation. Members of the ATU work in collaboration with the FBI on international and domestic terrorism cases and Suspicious Activity Reports to investigate predicated suspicion of terrorism activity. All efforts are an attempt to prevent criminal actors from successfully executing violence upon society.
Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section (VFAS)
The mission of the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section is to locate and arrest persons wanted for violent felonies. The suspects sought by VFAS Troopers are wanted by state, local or federal law enforcement agencies for serious charges, including murder, attempted murder, rape, indecent assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, stalking, crimes against children, firearms crimes, and failure to register as sex offenders. The fugitive typically sought by VFAS has an extensive criminal record, access to firearms or other weapons, and a strong propensity for violence. Apprehension of these suspects, many of whom are actively attempting to evade capture, is crucial to ensuring justice for their victims, the safety of the communities they frequent, and the safety of other law enforcement officers who may unexpectedly encounter them.
These fugitives often are facing significant prison time for the crimes alleged and have the greatest motivation to remain at large. VFAS works on a daily basis with members of local police departments, other MSP units, and other federal and state law enforcement agencies. On numerous cases, VFAS Troopers coordinate with state police in other states, as well as with members of the US Marshals Service across the United States and outside the country, to assist in apprehensions of violent fugitives the Troopers have tracked across the globe.
Technical Services Unit
The mission of the Technical Services Unit (TSU) is to support the Massachusetts State Police as well as other law enforcement agencies' investigative activities by deploying, installing, and maintaining electronic surveillance resources. This includes providing electronic surveillance equipment to investigate crimes, providing cameras for large-scale events, deployment of automated license plate readers, mapping of historical cellular site data from cellphones and maintaining a statewide wiretap system. TSU camera installations have allowed officers to view pedestrian and vehicular traffic, whether for the purpose of event security or to address a public safety concern or threat. These cameras can provide critical evidence in the wake of a catastrophic event. TSU capabilities have assisted with AMBER and Silver Alerts, missing persons, child abductions, and cases involving suicidal or emotionally disturbed persons. The TSU oversees several major technical systems that have assisted with complex investigations into organized crime and illegal narcotics organizations. The TSU also offers services to officers working undercover cases, which enhance officer safety and evidence collection.
Emergency Management Unit
The Emergency Management Unit (EMU) serves as the Massachusetts State Police liaison to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The unit is located in the MEMA headquarters in Framingham, commonly referred to as "the Bunker." The mission of the EMU is to be the primary representative of the Department during activations of the State Emergency Operations Center at MEMA for emergencies of any nature, as well as significant events impacting the state. The EMU routinely coordinates with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private entities, on public safety matters. Examples of the EMU's areas of responsibility include homeland security planning, nuclear power plant evacuations, public health issues, event planning, and response coordination during emergencies.
Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team (CINRET)
The Commonwealth Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team's (CINRET) mission is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), and to identify, investigate, and seize illicit assets of these DTOs. It's the activity of these DTOs, specifically the transportation and distribution of opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, and controlled prescription drugs that have led to the decimation of communities throughout the state. In addition to conducting independent investigations, the State Police's 3 regional CINRET teams — north, south, and west — work jointly with other law enforcement agencies, including the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, Major, and Cyber Crimes Division, U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the New York City Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor. In addition to developing and investigating its own cases, CINRET provides physical and electronic surveillance, technical equipment and assistance, and undercover support to various local, state, and federal agencies.
The Massachusetts State Police statewide Narcotics Section investigates drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), whose activities have devastated so many lives. The goal of the Narcotics Section is to reduce the negative and often deadly impact that these organizations have on communities throughout the Commonwealth. The Narcotics Section also investigates money laundering cases and routinely works with other local, state, and federal partners on cases that often have national and international connections.
Incident Management Assistance Team
The mission of Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) is threefold:
- Manage Unmanned Aerial Systems, more commonly referred to as drones
- Assist Massachusetts State Police Troops in planning for major events, including response to both planned and unplanned events, and the production of After Action Reports
- Participate in United States Department of Homeland Security investigations
IMAT also oversees UAS operation, detection, response and enforcement at large-scale open air events. National security intelligence briefs indicate that UAS technology has been used by criminals and terrorists for nefarious acts within the continental United States and across the world, creating new security concerns at large public gatherings and events. In response to that threat, IMAT manages a UAS detection network consisting of four antennas at locations in Massachusetts. The network is a passive antenna array that detects the communications between a drone and the remote control used by the operator.
Additionally, IMAT has a Trooper assigned as a task force officer in the U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) Counter-Proliferation Investigations program. The program, overseen by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations Division, prevents sensitive U.S. technologies and weapons from reaching terrorists, criminal organizations, and foreign adversaries.
State Identification Section
The State Identification Section (SIS) provides efficient and accurate real-time identification and criminal history services for law enforcement and specifically authorized civil application in the furtherance of public safety. SIS serves as the statewide repository of fingerprint records for arrests, sex offender registrations, license to carry applicants, and law enforcement and civilian employment applicants. SIS responsibilities include the following:
- Processing fingerprint submissions for Statewide Applicant Fingerprint Identification Services (SAFIS) which includes teachers, social workers, and Department of Youth Services and Department of Children and Families personnel.
- Processing fingerprint background checks for licenses issued by the Cannabis Commission.
- Processing fingerprint submissions for licenses issued by the Gaming Commission.
- Managing court ordered disposition updates, expungements, and sealing of fingerprint-based criminal history records.
- Assisting local police departments in procurement of LiveScan fingerprint devices, network configurations, and setups with DCJIS and vendors through grant funding.
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC)
The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force targets predators who are seeking to exploit and victimize children through the use of computers and the Internet. This program encourages communities to adopt a multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional response to the emerging threat of online child sexual exploitation through a variety of activities including: undercover online investigations, nationwide investigation coordination, search warrant preparation and execution, investigative analytical support, training for police officers and prosecutors, public awareness campaigns, and outreach activities to schools, parents, and community groups.
Digital Forensic Unit
The Digital Forensic Unit (DFU) is a full-service lab dedicated to the collection, preservation, and analysis of computers and digital evidence. Forensic services include: examining hard drives, removable media, CD/DVDs, cellular devices, mobile devices, GPS devices, wireless & Wi-Fi devices; providing video surveillance capture and clarification to digital video files, web video, analog video, still cameras, or scanned images. DFU has a Mobile Computer Forensics Van for large-scale events, which is a fully-equipped lab that allows Digital Forensic Examiners to respond 24/7 to preview and examine digital media on- scene. Each year, the demand for utilization of the van has increased dramatically.
The Armorer’s Office is responsible for testing and selecting all Department use of force equipment including issued firearms, Tasers, and soft body
armor. The Armorer’s Section provides training and support for all Department issued use of force equipment. During recruit officer training, the Armorer’s Section provides services to agencies represented at the State Police Municipal Academies (SPMA) and Special State Police Officer (SSPO) Academies. The Armorer’s Office is also responsible for Gas Mask Fit Testing of all members of the Department.
Defensive Tactics Unit
The Defensive Tactics Unit (DTU) is responsible for recruit officer and in- service defensive tactics training, including training Department members in the use of Tasers. During recruit training, the DTU staff is supplemented by a cadre of adjunct instructors. In 2019, the DTU primarily trained the 84th Recruit Training Troop, but also provided defensive tactics training to incumbent officers.
Driver Training Unit
The Driver Training Unit (DTU), also known as Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVOC), provides driver training to the law enforcement community, including federal, state, municipal and campus police officers. Training is provided for recruit officer training, at the time of Department cruiser issue, remedial driver training, tire deflation device training, and in-service training.
Firearms Training Unit
The Firearms Training Unit (FTU) provides the Department’s in- service firearm training initiatives, as well as firearm training for recruit officers participating in MSP Recruit Training Troops, as well as Special State Police and State Police Municipal Academy classes.
Health and Fitness Unit
Academy attendees, due to the rigors of police training, inevitably suffer injury or illness. The Health and Fitness Unit, also known as the Medical Unit, treats those affected. Staffed by Troopers certified as Emergency Medical Technicians as well as fitness coaches and trainers, the unit is also responsible for overall health and fitness of Academy students.
Dispatch Services Unit
The Dispatch Services Unit has three primary missions:
- To support MSP uniform branch operations in our Troop dispatch centers;
- to triage and transfer wireless 911 calls for service in our wireless 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs);
- and to provide police, fire, and EMS dispatch services for 49 communities in Western and Central Massachusetts in our regional 911 PSAPs.
The unit supports the MSP and the broader public safety and law enforcement communities by providing other services, such as supporting the MSP Command Post and Unified Command Center staffing at large-scale planned events and unplanned incidents, completing wireless 911 call traces, and providing emergency medical dispatch instructions by phone for critical imperative medical calls. Additionally, the unit fulfills radio recording requests for district attorneys’ offices, as well as audio and video requests for investigators, assists in coordinating AMBER Alert requests and activations, and provides police, fire, and EMS dispatch services to municipalities responding to significant incidents.
Communications Radio Unit
The Radio Unit has three primary missions:
- To support daily operations, maintenance, and repair of portable, mobile, and console radios for the Department;
- to oversee operations, maintenance, repair, and governance of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Interoperable Radio System (CoMIRS); and
- to provide interoperable communications support for large-scale planned and unplanned events for the Department and the Commonwealth.
The mission of the Compliance Unit is to provide managerial and administrative support and internal controls to Division of Administrative Services units that assess and manage risks and prevent fraud, as well as providing in-house services that effectively support DAS units in their duty to comply with the policies and rules of the Department.
The unit is responsible for completing two major types of Department auditing reports. The first has been an audit of sworn personnel with the top 50 highest compensation per quarter to ensure that compensation is appropriately documented and authorized. (The method of performing this audit has been changed by the Department, as future audits will review earnings and hours worked on a more frequent basis, and from a broader sampling of sworn personnel). The second major report undertaken by the Compliance Unit is a bi-annual shift, on-call, and commuting differential review, which examines compensation differentials and is provided to Division Commanders so they may assess and ensure that the differentials are accurate and authorized.
The Compliance Unit also manages an asset management staff, which oversees the tangible asset management for the Department, and is responsible for the inventory of all Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and non-GAAP fixed assets. The Compliance Unit assists management staff with documentation of processes through standard operating procedures and flowcharts, administration of an inventory database, and by performing a risk-assessment and review of internal controls and ensuring segregation of duties for inventory.
The Supply Section supports the Department’s sworn and civilian members by assuring that equipment and uniforms provided meet the ever-changing needs of the MSP, and by continually offering the best affordable quality products.
Supply stocks more than 2,900 different items and manages
an annual inventory of some $2 million in assets. The staff manages thousands of items every year. Items are purchased, received, stored and distributed, and expenditures are tracked to ensure budgetary compliance. Upon a Trooper’s retirement the section inventories, then destroys, retires or repurposes, the used equipment. The section also coordinates with vendors and researches equipment options to obtain the best product for the lowest price.
Facilities Management Section
The Facilities Management Section maintains and operates all MSP-owned facilities and manages the Department’s lease and license agreements. Facilities Management also manages all deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects for the Department.
The Fleet Section’s mission is to provide safe and reliable vehicles in order to maintain a state of operational readiness. The fleet consists of 3,180 vehicles, which includes marked and unmarked cruisers, motorcycles, trailers, trucks, vans, ramp trucks, command posts, and heavy equipment. The Fleet Section handles all Department vehicles, from bid/specifications to disposal.
Recruitment and Diversity Office
The mission of the Recruitment and Diversity Office is to recruit highly qualified applicants for the position of Massachusetts State Police Trooper. The Department understands that a diverse law enforcement agency can foster better relationships with the communities it serves, promote trust and fairness in policing, and encourage citizen support and cooperation. The Department has further recognized the need to undertake initiatives to increase the number of female and minority applicants to create a more diverse workforce within the Massachusetts State Police.
The Records Section is the central repository for most MSP investigative reports. The section is responsible for inventorying and archiving all MSP
case reports, as well as responding to Criminal Offender Record Information and public record requests. The section responds to requests from the
Legal Section and District Attorney’s offices, MSP barracks and detective units, the FBI and federal Department of Homeland Security, and various other agencies and the general public. The section maintains records within the Department and assists counsel in fulfilling public requests for documents according to MGL Chapter 166, Sec 14A (d), and Public Records Law Chapter 66, Section 10. The Department strives to respond to each public records request, or requests from any other agency, within 10 business days. The Records Section maintains a database, paper file archives, and CDs with old records dating as far back as the 1930s. In 2019, the Records Section was tasked with archiving all of the former Metropolitan District Commission records that were stored at the Boston and Brighton barracks.
Staff Inspections Unit
The Staff Inspections Unit audits and inspects Department resources. The inspections encompass MSP facilities, equipment, personnel, practices, and policies. Inspection findings inform the Command Staff of the quality of the Department services.
Office of the Department Prosecutor
The Office of the Departmental Prosecutor, consisting of the Departmental Prosecutor and the Assistant Departmental Prosecutor, is responsible for reviewing completed personnel investigations conducted by the Internal Affairs Section, as well as by individual troops; making appropriate recommendations as to charges and discipline; negotiating settlements with union attorneys; and prosecuting disciplinary cases before Departmental trial boards when matters cannot be resolved via the waiver process. The Office of the Departmental Prosecutor is also responsible for defending all Trial Board decisions appealed to the Civil Service Commission and, where applicable, to the Massachusetts Superior Court Department and Appeals or Supreme Judicial Courts.
Narcotics Inspection Unit
The Narcotics Inspection Unit (NIU) duties and responsibilities include the safe and controlled handling, securing, cataloging, storing, and inventorying of all narcotics seized by the Department. Additionally, NIU personnel conduct monthly destructions where old narcotics evidence from local, county, and state agencies is incinerated. The NIU main office is located in Framingham, and there are five Central Evidence Lockers located within Troops of Jurisdiction throughout the state.
Internal Affairs Section
The Internal Affairs Section is responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of serious misconduct committed by employees, both sworn and civilian, of the Department of State Police. The Internal Affairs Section ensures public confidence and support is maintained by fairly and objectively investigating assigned cases in a timely and thorough manner. The findings of these investigations are communicated to the Department, the subject, and the complainant. Additionally, any sustained findings are forwarded to the Departmental Prosecutor’s Office for further handling, including discipline, as appropriate.
Harassment Investigation Unit
The Harassment Investigation Unit (HIU) investigates allegations of harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination within Department operations arising from an employee’s status in a protected class. The HIU tracks and reviews allegations of workplace violence and coordinates the activities of the Workplace Violence Safety Incident Response Team. The HIU also trains sworn and civilian personnel in matters related to harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and workplace violence and maintains records and statistics related to all such investigations and training.
Fraud Identification Unit
The Fraud Identification Unit (FIU) works with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to ensure the integrity of the Massachusetts licensing system. The FIU manages the RMV Facial Recognition Program and conducts investigations related to the following offenses.
- False procurement of official RMV documents.
- Threats and crimes against RMV facilities or employees.
- Crimes committed by RMV employees as they relate to official duties.
- Misuse of personal information obtained through the RMV ATLAS database.
- Misuse of RMV issued handicapped parking placards.
All FIU members are assigned to the Homeland Security Investigation’s Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force. FIU also coordinates with the RMV Enforcement Services Unit in implementing that unit’s Confidential (undercover) License and Registration Program. FIU assists many local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies on collaborative investigations, including the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission and the Department of Transportation Auditors.
State Police Detective Units (SPDU)
State Police Detective Units primarily conduct death investigations and other complex investigations related to major felonies, including narcotics trafficking, sexual assaults and other violent crimes, crimes against children, organized crime, financial crimes, serious motor vehicle offenses, police- involved shootings, threats to public officials, and public corruption. Troopers assigned to the units must be able to think innovatively, and utilize a variety of advanced investigative methods, including skilled interviewing and surveillance techniques, forensic testing, analysis of electronic devices and data, GPS monitoring, electronic wiretaps, and advanced software. SPDU personnel are available to provide other police agencies assistance in such areas as digital forensic evidence analysis, preparing search warrant affidavits and executing search and arrest warrants, photo arrays, and anti-terrorism behavioral observation missions. The units also participate in community outreach programs, such as public education efforts regarding the ongoing opioid epidemic and law enforcement’s role in combating its destructive results. Unit Troopers continuously facilitate and attend trainings, in order to expand their knowledge.
State Police Detective Units, working with local police, lead homicide and death investigations in every city and town in the state except for Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and Pittsfield, and additionally lead investigations for such incidents occurring on state property in those communities.
The units also lead investigations into police-involved shootings by MSP personnel or officers from other police departments. These investigations provide a thorough and impartial aggregation of all relevant evidence, which is then presented to the District Attorney of jurisdiction for he or she to determine if the shooting was justified in light of the facts and applicable law.
State Police detectives also have helped quantify the scope of the tragic opioid epidemic of recent years; the units track responses to unattended deaths where evidence of opioid use is present, information the Division of Investigative Services uses to quantify rates of suspected overdose deaths over time (definitive confirmation of overdose deaths are provided by the state Medical Examiner). Many of the units also respond to motor vehicle fatalities to assist patrol Troopers, local police officers, and the MSP Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section with their investigations.
In addition to the squad of detectives who conduct homicide and other death investigations, most State Police Detective Units have squads focusing on narcotics trafficking. These Troopers work closely with local police department detectives to stem the distribution of illegal drugs in communities across the state. Some units, at the direction of their district attorneys, also investigate other major crimes such as sexual assaults and financial crimes.
Unresolved Cases Unit
The Unresolved Cases Unit, which was established in 2019, works in conjunction with District Attorney’s offices and local police departments to investigate unresolved cases of homicides, sexual assaults, and missing persons.
State House Protection Section
In September 2019 the Department established the State House Protection Section within the State Office of Investigations to serve as the primary law enforcement and public safety unit with jurisdictional responsibility for the State House. The unit’s mission is to ensure the safety of all persons in the State House, including officials, employees, and members of the public.
The State House Protection Section provides an armed, modified-uniformed presence in the State House during all hours the building is open to the public, or when deemed necessary, to establish an environment of safety and well-being and to deter and investigate crime, enforce all laws, maintain order, and effectively respond to calls for service and medical emergencies. The unit safeguards property during civil disorders and disturbances, protests, and critical incidents.
Most of the unit’s investigations relate to threats. Additionally, many other calls for service relate to persons causing disruptions in the workplace. As such, unit Troopers, when necessary for public safety, monitor repeat offenders or identify unknown disorderly or disruptive persons.