Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,600,000)
The Commonwealth Massachusetts, home to more than seven million people, like many states is emerging from an unusual time in our history marked by recovery from pandemic, remarkable social changes, and an environment that poses considerable challenges for policing.
The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) is the largest law enforcement agency in Massachusetts, and as such it has a very broad mission and serves the people of the Commonwealth in virtually every way a police agency can. In addition to law enforcement and safety along our highways the MSP provides rural policing for many of the smaller towns in the Commonwealth. The MSP also provides more than 500 investigators to a host of state agencies including the District Attorneys, the Attorney General, and a variety of Federal Task Forces.
The MSP has responded to the calls for increased transparency and accountability through a number of initiatives, including adopting the use of body-worn cameras (BWCs). The program has been well received by agency personnel, legislative leaders, our partner agencies, and anecdotally by the public. As Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker recently stated, “Body-worn cameras create opportunities to strengthen relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
The MSP is moving to expand the deployment of BWCs to every officer and we are seeking funding to assist in that endeavor.
The MSP goals are to:
Deploy BWCs to every officer of the MSP
Improve the capability to capture interactions and evidence digitally
Enhance accountability and performance of our officers by using BWC DEM
Measure the success and impact of our BWC program
The MSP will be using the project management principles that have successfully built out our BWC program so far, we currently have seven year-long contract with the BWC vendor that demonstrates our long-term commitment to BWCs. Also, the MSP is working with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to expand the use of BWCs in the Department as well as assist local departments to adopt BWCs.
Deployment of BWCs to every officer
Thorough program evaluation and quality assurance efforts
Increased accountability and transparency
Successful expansion of the BWC program will build upon the foundation the MSP has worked hard to build over the past year. It will provide positive improvements for the Department and will serve as a model for other departments in a region that has so far been slow to adopt BWCs.