State police union agrees to GPS tracking with new contract

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts State Police union agreed to adopt GPS technology that tracks police cruisers in exchange for modest pay raises in the latest contract agreement with the state, according to officials from both sides of the negotiations.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts, which represents the majority of the 2,200-member police force, agreed to the contract terms in recent weeks, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. Troopers have been working two years under an expired contract.

Gov. Charlie Baker pushed for the GPS tracking in the wake of the state agency's overtime corruption scandal. Over the past two years, dozens of troopers and their supervisors were accused of collecting overtime pay for hours never worked and were found to have lied on paperwork to cover their absences.

Baker and the state police commander at the time implemented the GPS tracking in May 2018. But the union argued the state had broken the rules and that the use of such tracking should be determined through collective bargaining. The union filed multiple labor relations complaints and a lawsuit.

Since agreeing to the new contract, the union has withdrawn its complaints and the lawsuit, said Nancy Sterling, the spokeswoman for the union.

The union and State Police will begin a new set of discussions over launching a permanent body camera system — another reform promised by Baker — as early as the end of the month, Sterling said.