Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that effective Wednesday, state police Troop E has been eliminated and GPS has been activated for more than 1,000 state police cruisers as part of the ongoing state police reforms.
Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and state police Col. Kerry Giplin released the information as part of a 30-day update on the status of promised reforms in the wake of a recent overtime scandal.
Thirty state police troopers are currently under investigation as part of an ongoing overtime pay scandal uncovered by an internal audit. The troopers were allegedly paid for overtime shifts they never worked. The shifts were as few as one and as high as 100 per trooper.
All of the officers involved in the overtime scandal are from Troop E, which is responsible for patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike and tunnels.
The reforms announced on April 2 included eliminating Troop E, activating GPS in marked cruisers and completing a staffing study of Troop F and a study of the Turnpike barracks.
"Our administration has been working closely with Colonel Gilpin to implement reforms at the State Police to improve public safety and restore the public’s trust in the Department," Baker said. "While progress has been made to install new technology, eliminate excess overtime shifts and determine the appropriate staffing levels for the Turnpike and Logan Airport, there is much work to be done to improve efficiencies and policies at the State Police."
Baker also announced that two studies have been completed - a review of staffing needs at Troop F, which patrols Logan Airport and other Massport properties, and an audit to identify ways to more effectively deploy resources and examine the appropriate number of patrols assigned to each barracks location formerly staffed by Troop E.
The four former Troop E barracks were absorbed into troops B, C and H, all of which cover portions of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Overtime shifts for the Turnpike are now available to the 786 troopers, instead of only the 136 troopers who were formerly assigned to Troop E. Stronger operational policies have also been enacted at the Turnpike barracks, including face-to-face roll call and new oversight positions to supervise field audits.
The Troop F staffing study will result in the assignment of 30 new state police members to Troop F as of May 27, increasing the base-level staff to 154 members and bringing the troop to its currently budgeted level for its mission of protecting Logan Airport and Massport properties.