Governor Charlie Baker’s administration announced a number of State Police reforms on Wednesday amid a wave of recent scandals involving overtime fraud and other issues that have battered the law enforcement agency.
Here’s some of the highlights.
Baker and State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin announced last month that the agency would eliminate Troop E, which patrols the Massachusetts Turnpike and has been embroiled in a scandal over 29 active and retired troopers who allegedly put in for overtime shifts they didn’t work in 2016.
On Wednesday, state officials provided details on where the members of the disbanded troop will be headed.
“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 Baker administration and State Police said in a joint statement. “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.”
In addition, face to face roll calls will be introduced for Mass. Pike shifts at all barracks.
Effective Wednesday, GPS technology will be implemented in all 1,087 marked State Police cruisers.
“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,” the joint release said.
Troop F additions
Troop F, which patrols Logan International Airport and the Seaport and has been at the center of a separate payroll scandal, will get more troopers to reduce its dependance on overtime.
State officials said they’ve determined that adding 30 more troopers to the unit, bringing the total to 154, will help the troop “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.”
State Police also came under fire when it was revealed in March that neither the agency nor Massport had publicly filed information on payouts for Troop F with the state comptroller as required by law since 2010.
That’s about to change.
Authorities announced Wednesday that State Police have “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.”
Another scandal involved a K-9 trooper who got on the job despite a prior history of marijuana dealing.
On Wednesday, Baker’s office and State Police announced new policies to beef up background checks.
“To update background checks of new recruit candidates, the department has broadened the questionnaire that recruit candidates are required to complete,” the release said. “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.”Matt Stout and Matt Rocheleau of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.