(Editor's Note: the following information was provided
by the office of the Baker-Polito Administration.)
BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin released a 30-day update on reforms to policies and procedures at the State Police to increase oversight, efficiency and transparency at the Department. These reforms include eliminating Troop E, activating GPS technology in marked police cruisers, and completing a staffing study of Troop F and study of the MassDOT Turnpike barracks. The Colonel also provided updates to additional reforms, including newly assigned personnel to the Staff Inspections and Internal Affairs Sections, an updated questionnaire for new recruits and public access to troop assignments and payroll records.
“Our administration has been working closely with Colonel Gilpin to implement reforms at the State Police to improve public safety and restore the public’s trust in the Department,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While progress has been made to install new technology, eliminate excess overtime shifts and determine the appropriate staffing levels for the Turnpike and Logan Airport, there is much work to be done to improve efficiencies and policies at the State Police. I commend Colonel Gilpin for her leadership and we will keep working with the State Police to bring lasting reforms to this Department.”
“While a series of changes are well underway at the State Police, the Department has more work to do to increase transparency and regain public trust,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration will continue to collaborate with the State Police to see these reforms through for the benefit of communities across the state.”
“Colonel Gilpin is working diligently and swiftly to enact important reforms to State Police practices and procedures that will benefit public safety and rebuild public trust in this critical department,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “My team and I fully support her efforts and we will continue to work closely with her to bring about these needed changes.”
“I am proud of the work done by my command staff and other Department members in beginning to enact these reforms,” Colonel Kerry Gilpin said.“Much work remains to be done, and I am confident we will accomplish our mission of increasing the efficiency, transparency, and accountability of the State Police while further enhancing our capabilities to protect everyone who lives and works in Massachusetts and travels through the Commonwealth.”
On April 2, the Baker-Polito Administration and State Police outlined numerous reforms, including specific tasks to be accomplished within 30 days. While work to implement all reforms is ongoing, the Department has eliminated Troop E and re-designated assets, activated the use of an Automated Vehicle Location system (AVL), a GPS locator, and completed two 30-day studies: (1) a review of staffing needs at Troop F, which patrols Logan Airport and the other Massport properties; and (2) an audit to identify ways to more effectively deploy resources and examine the appropriate number of patrols assigned to each barracks location formerly staffed by Troop E.
The four former Troop E Barracks were absorbed into three regional Troops that cover portions of the Turnpike (Troops B, C, H) to increase staffing levels and improve public safety. Overtime shifts for the Turnpike are now available to the 786 Troopers, instead of only the 136 Troopers who were formerly assigned to Troop E, which will result in a more even distribution of any available overtime. All signage, license plates and cruiser decals designating Troop E have been removed and specialty units have been reassigned to other parts of the Department. Stronger operational policies have also been enacted at the Turnpike barracks, including face-to-face roll call and new oversight positions to supervise field audits.
Effective today, AVL will be activated in all 1,087 marked cruisers under a new State Police policy issued today to govern usage of this GPS technology. The Department has commenced training for troop commanders, captains, and lieutenants in the use of the software and will shortly begin working on a plan to install the technology in other vehicles in the fleet. This GPS locator is used by several law enforcement agencies to increase officer safety and assist field commanders in their mission to effectively deploy personnel to emergencies.
The Troop F staffing study will result in the assignment of 30 new State Police members to Troop F as of May 27, increasing the base-level staff to 154 members and bringing the Troop to its currently budgeted level for its mission of protecting Logan Airport and Massport properties. Staff additions will include additional Lieutenants, Sergeants and K9 units, which the study determined had been understaffed, causing these positions to incur additional overtime. Increasing staff levels will also reduce the reliance on overtime hours, which, holding all other factors equally, are projected to decline by up to 40% as a result of the staffing increase.
Massport and the State Police will also establish a committee to routinely evaluate enhanced security requirements for Logan Airport and Massport properties in order to ensure staffing levels can flexibly respond to changes in the designated security threat level.
The study of the Turnpikes barracks has resulted in recommendations to guide the assignment of personnel to the four Turnpike barracks to provide proper staffing to fulfill public safety duties, balance staffing at officer and Trooper level, and minimize overtime resulting from staffing shortages. New minimum staffing levels have been recommended for each barracks and assets formerly centralized at Troop E have been re-assigned to other barracks.
More Details On Completed Reforms:
Elimination of Troop E
Staffing, Oversight and Overtime Changes
- Effective this morning, the four former Troop E Barracks were absorbed into three regional Troops that cover portions of the Turnpike (two to Troop H, one to Troop C, and one to Troop B).
- The change will increase oversight, supervision and accountability of field personnel on the Turnpike and the MassDOT-owned Metropolitan Highway System.
- The number of personnel available to respond to emergencies and incidents has been increased across the entire length of the Turnpike.
- Overtime shifts will now be available to 786 eligible Troopers from all Turnpike Troops (Troops B,C,H) as compared to only 136 eligible Troopers under the former Troop E staffing approach.
- To increase oversight and accountability, a Troop Major has been assigned to a new position in the Division of Field Services to supervise field Management and Accountability for AVL, field audits and implementation of all reforms. Face to face roll calls will also be introduced for MassPike shifts at all barracks.
- 4 Barracks have been reassigned and signage has been updated from Troop E to Troops B, C, and H.
- 258 State Police Cruisers have been transferred from MassDOT to Mass State Police ownership.
- Troop H detail office is relocated to the Highway Operations Center in South Boston.
- MassDOT and the Mass State Police have revised their Memorandum of Understanding to reflect the changes to organization of the State Police force charged with policing the MassPike while ensuring that the current level of service is maintained. The revised MOU is subject to approval by the MassDOT Board.
- The Troop E Community Action Team has been disbanded.
- 179 marked cruisers have had their license plates changed and decals removed to eliminate “Troop E” designations.
- Truck Team, Motorcycles and Troop Clerk will all be reassigned to Troop H or statewide units.
Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) Activation
· This GPS technology will enhance officer safety by readily identifying the location of a State Police cruiser to supervisors, and will also assist field commanders in more effectively deploying personnel in critical incidents and emergencies.
· As of close of business Wednesday, May 2, the Department will activate operation of an Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) system through the installation of GPS software into all 1,087 marked patrol cruisers.
· The Department has issued a policy for the use of AVL technology and has begun training Troop commanders, captains, and lieutenants in the use of the software.
· The Department will next develop a plan to install AVL in other vehicles in the fleet.
Troop F Staffing Study
· In partnership with Massport, the State Police has completed a study into Troop F, which patrols Logan Airport, Hanscom and Worcester Airports, and the Seaport, to examine optimal staffing levels for the Troop and identify ways to reduce the use of overtime.
· This study has concluded that with the deployment of 30 additional State Police members (totaling a staff of 154 Troopers) to Troop F will be well positioned to continue to meet the unique national security needs of Logan Airport and Massport properties while reducing the use of overtime. The staffing increase adds personnel to specific positions that, because of particular rank requirements or the need for specialized skills, have generated a disproportionate share of overtime hours.
· The study has concluded that reliance on a high volume of overtime shifts at Troop F is the result of a continuing gap between the number of Troop members budgeted to serve in Troop F and the lower number actually assigned and available for service, and secondly, from additional duties required to address a continuing heightened security status at Logan Airport. The staffing increase will reduce the reliance on overtime shifts. The study projects overtime hours could be reduced by 40,000 hours net annually as a result of the increase of 30 new members, provided the increased staffing level is maintained over time.
· Massport and the State Police will establish a 5-member committee that will be responsible for routinely evaluating the staffing levels at Massport properties based on the designated threat level. This committee will evaluate the enhanced security levels to determine the needed staffing level and assets to ensure proper security and public safety, and will complete its initial reviewwithin 60 days. The committee will include the Massport Director of Aviation, the Troop F Commander (Director of Aviation Security), the Massport Chief Security Officer, and two additional members. This Troop F staffing review will inform future discussions with the Boston Police Department on Seaport patrols and safety.
· Discussions about the safety and patrols of the Seaport District will continue.
Patrol and Overtime Shifts Study
· A review was undertaken to make recommendations guiding the assignment of personnel to the four Turnpike barracks to: provide proper staffing to fulfill public safety duties, balance staffing at officer and Trooper level, and minimize and reduce the use of overtime resulting from staffing shortages.
· As a result, new minimum staffing levels have been recommended for each barracks, including staffing numbers for both officers and Troopers. The review makes some realignment of patrol areas among the barracks (as compared to Troop E patrol areas) to facilitate balancing of staffing resources among barracks and to reflect the existing geography now assigned to Troops B, C, H.
Former Troop E functions that were centralized in that troop will also be re-assigned to other barracks, including the Duty office, Detail office, Clerk’s office and Traffic programs office. Colonel Gilpin also announced the completion of additional reforms. These include the assignment of four more investigators to the Internal Affairs Section, who will be responsible for investigating citizen complaints and alleged violations of department policy and procedures, to expedite the completion of internal investigations. Colonel Gilpin has also transferred six more troopers to the Staff Inspections Section, which is responsible for ensuring that departmental policies and procedures are followed by MSP sections and units. The additional personnel will allow Staff Inspections to operate on a seven-day weekly schedule across all three daily shifts and will allow the Department to focus on more strictly enforcing the code of conduct, to reduce the timeframes for investigations and complete investigations more expeditiously.
Effective immediately, the department has begun quarterly audits of its top 50 pay earners to ensure they adhere to rules regarding limits on hours that can be worked per day and per week. The results of these audits will be made public.
The Department has also posted members’ Troop assignments to the state’s website, and has ensured that payroll records for all Troops of the State Police will be posted on the State Comptroller’s website to increase transparency.
To update background checks of new recruit candidates, the department has broadened the questionnaire that recruit candidates are required to complete. Newly added questions ask about potential involvement by the candidate in any criminal investigation, even if the candidate was not charged with a crime. The department is exploring additional research measures for background investigators to increase the chance of identifying potential disqualifying issues among candidates.
When appointed to her post last November, Colonel Gilpin inherited a series of challenges at the department. She appointed several new members to her senior command staff, and immediately contracted with an outside investigator to review allegations about an altered arrest report. Last Friday Colonel Gilpin released the report, which contained recommendations for improving oversight at the agency. Those recommendations are currently being evaluated to determine how to best implement the findings.
The Colonel also ordered an audit of the overtime shifts for certain Turnpike traffic enforcement patrols, known by the acronym AIRE patrols, revealing alleged discrepancies between amounts paid to and actual shifts worked by more than 20 Troop E members. After holding internal hearings, several of those members were suspended without pay while the investigation continues. The results of the audit have been provided to the Attorney General’s office, which will determine if any of the alleged discrepancies warrant criminal prosecution. Colonel Gilpin also announced a wider review of other types of overtime shifts on the Turnpike and in other Troops.
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