Reforms State Police, Governor promised
■ Disband troubled Troop E — Last spring, the unit at the center of an overtime fraud and bogus traffic citation scheme was disbanded. Its barracks, troopers, and their duties, which consisted primarily of patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike, were absorbed by other State Police troops.
■ Deploy GPS-tracking in cruisers — The department is about halfway done adding GPS-tracking technology to its fleet of 3,000 cruisers and specialty vehicles, but union pushback and pending complaints before the state’s labor relation department could upend the program.
■ Develop body camera program — The department launched a six-month body camera pilot program in February. The troopers’ union agreed to the ongoing pilot, but if the program is to be implemented permanently, it will require additional buy-in from the union.
■ Study how to more efficiently patrol Mass. Pike — The department completed the study, but ignored a key recommendation to stop staffing posts purely on an overtime basis.
■ Study Troop F’s high overtime spending — The department completed the study, implemented a plan to reduce overtime, and saw some early promising results. But the plan is unlikely to hit the high-end of the lofty projections officials announced last spring. And the department hasn’t followed through on Governor Charlie Baker’s order to resolve a long-running jurisdiction dispute with Boston Police over the Seaport district.
■ Audit top 50 earners quarterly, publish results — The department said it has audited top-paid troopers agency-wide three times since last year, looking for violations of limits on how many hours troopers can work. But the department has refused to disclose if such violations were found, saying prosecutors investigating overtime fraud have requested it not release the audits’ results. A department spokesman did say the audits revealed “various isolated” record-keeping inconsistencies and data-entry errors, but those “do not warrant investigation or discipline.”
■ Increase transparency — The department has repeatedly flouted the state’s public records law, including withholding internal audits Gilpin authored, and received a sharp rebuke for trying to destroy years-old, but pertinent, payroll records.
■ Hire firm to audit policies, protocols — The department in September hired Ernst & Young for an ongoing audit. So far, this has prompted the department to roll out new payroll software.
■ Increase internal investigatory staffs — The department last spring assigned more personnel to its Internal Affairs section and to its Staff Inspections section. But since then, staffing in both sections has dropped due to retirements. Even new additions expected in the coming weeks won’t make up for the loss.
■ Broaden background check questionnaire — The department said it created a new questionnaire.
Reforms lawmakers mandated
■ Create independent unit to oversee agency — The state Inspector General’s office late last year, hired a director and some other staff to launch the special oversight unit, which in early March issued its first annual report outlining its early work.
■ Study hiring, promotion practices — A special commission led by legislators issued a set of recommendations on State Police hiring and promotion practices in late December. But the proposals have been criticized for not going far enough to improve the department’s poor track-record on diversity. State Police say they’re reviewing some recommendations, others require Legislative action.
■ Study management operations, structure — The Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, which received $300,000 to conduct a “study and management review” of State Police’s “operations and organization structure,” expects to finish its work this summer.
■ Obtain certification or accreditation — State Police is now seeking certification from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. It hopes to have that within about one year and will then seek national accreditation.
■ Curbed payroll spending — Overall, the department’s payroll dipped slightly during 2018, including a significant drop in overtime, but some of that was fueled by a record number of retirements and stalled union negotiations that left troopers without raises for the first time in years. Department officials expect the payroll to climb this year.
■ Considered letting outsiders be colonel — Under state law, the governor can only appoint internal candidates as colonel. Governor Charlie Baker said this past fall he would be open to legislation allowing for outside candidates. But he’s been silent on the issue since and no bills on the matter have been filed.
■ Secured funding to hire new troopers — Governor Charlie Baker’s administration last year successfully pushed the Legislature for funding for new recruits to help restock the department’s depleted force.
■ Retained consultant — In July, the department brought on as a consultant Kathleen O’Toole, a former Boston police commissioner known as a specialist in reforming police agencies. O’Toole, who held leadership roles within and overseeing the State Police in the 1990s, said she’s seen “significant progress,” and “they’re on the right path,” but there’s more to be done.