We’re not perfect, by any means, and some individuals have tarnished our reputation and damaged the public’s trust. But the people of Massachusetts are well served by the police.
Police shootings here are fairly rare. According to The Washington Post, Massachusetts has the second-lowest per capita rate of fatal officer-involved shootings of any state in the nation. In addition, police in Massachusetts are required to complete at least 40 hours of training annually; few other states hit that mark.
A few years ago the International Association of Chiefs of Police, on whose board I sit, unveiled the One Mind Campaign, encouraging police departments to meet training standards related to mental illness. More than 180 Massachusetts police chiefs signed on and launched statewide training, more than any other state.
The other day, I listened to our radio as two officers spent more than an hour talking a gentleman with bipolar disorder into voluntarily opening his door and getting into an ambulance. When they were done, no force had been applied, the man got the treatment he needed, and the public never heard about it. Those calls are far more common than people realize.
I work with good men and women who entered the profession for all the right reasons, and who work hard to provide quality service. They are well trained and use remarkably low levels of force. This is not an easy time to be a cop, but the good people of our state should know that their police are working quietly, under difficult conditions, to protect and serve them.
William G. Brooks III
Chief of Police
The writer is the former president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.