Governor announces bill to overhaul state police

NEW BRAINTREE, Mass. (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled legislation Thursday aimed at overhauling the way Massachusetts State Police hires, promotes and disciplines troopers, and includes jettisoning a mandate that the agency's commander be appointed from within.

The proposed overhaul comes as the agency deals with corruption, mismanagement and misconduct scandals.

The Republican governor made the announcement alongside recently appointed State Police Col. Christopher Mason at the State Police Training Academy in New Braintree.

The bill would streamline the process for suspending officers without pay and let agencies recover damages from police officers who submit false claims for hours worked.

The bill would also let external candidates apply for the post of colonel provided they have 10 or more years in law enforcement and five or more years in a police or military leadership position.

Baker said the bill would let Mason "take swift action against troopers who do not live up to the oath they swore, promote a more diverse workforce and bring department policies in line with modern management practices.”

Mason said in the past two months the agency has also activated automatic vehicle location systems on 3,000 cruisers, and is looking to install 1,500 body cameras and 1,000 in-car video systems.

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