Grow, Gift, Repair

Massachusetts Creates New Police Accountability System

As the year and legislative session come to a close, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law legislation creating a police accountability and oversight system under which officers need to be certified every three years and can lose their certification for violating to-be-developed policing standards.

As the country reacted to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers this summer, policing reform was catapulted to the top of Beacon Hill’s priority list and lawmakers set out on what would become a complicated, circuitous and, at times, controversial path to address police violence and some of the disproportionate impacts communities of color experience from law enforcement, and to bolster the state’s oversight of police officers.

Seven months later, after heated debates, public outcry from police unions, back-room negotiations, a veto threat, and more negotiations, Baker made the reforms state law.