Massachusetts Auditor’s Office Recognized For Study on Police Training & Accountability

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In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Auditor’s office.

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BOSTON – State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today announced her office has received the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Notable Document Award in the field of public safety for its study, Municipal Police In-Service Training: Funding and Cooperation across the Commonwealth.

The study, which was produced by the office’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM), called for the establishment of a Police Officer Standards and Training system, a database to track police training credits, and expanded training opportunities, all of which were included in the state’s police reform bill signed into law this past December.

The award marks the second time this year that Bump’s office has been recognized nationally for its police reform report.The award was presented today during NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians Business Meeting and recognizes excellence in public documentation for topics of interest to legislators.

“The police reform law that is now being implemented here in the Commonwealth was influenced by many critical stakeholders and advocates, and we are immensely proud that our study was valued and helped inform the debate. What started as a cost burden analysis turned into a proactive review of police training, a subject matter that was both timely and of great interest to lawmakers,” Bump said. “I could not be more proud of the DLM staff members who worked hard on this report and are so deserving of this honor.”

“The recommendations for greater police training and professional accountability are well written and clearly provided for policy makers. The material covered is an extremely relevant topic for all state and local governments,” said Ingrid Hernquist, Manager of OLS Library Services for the New Jersey State Legislature, who also served as a judge for the Notable Document Award. “It contains well researched information and includes easy to understand graphs and tables as well as a strong bibliography.  This was one of my choices for the Notable Document Awards as the recommendations were laid out in a clear fashion and could be used by legislators and policy makers in all local, state and national levels.”

The report, which was released in November 2019, found that while Massachusetts has one of the highest hourly requirements for in-service police training in the nation, at 40 hours annually, it did not provide enough training opportunities to allow officers to meet this requirement and had no mechanism to hold officers and municipalities accountable.

The Notable Documents Awards are presented annually by the NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians. Using a scorecard, NCSL Notable Document Award committee members evaluate each submitted report or study on specific criteria, including relevance, organization, clarity, effective use of graphics, innovation, balance, and expansion of the base of knowledge on a particular subject. NCSL’s mission is to advance the effectiveness, independence and integrity of legislatures and to foster interstate cooperation and facilitate the exchange of information among legislatures.

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The Office of the State Auditor conducts performance audits of state government programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency. The OSA has identified approximately $1.3 billion in unallowable, questionable, or potentially fraudulent spending and saving opportunities for the Commonwealth since 2011. Last year, auditees reported implementation of 92 percent of the OSA’s audit recommendations.

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