Starting as soon as this week the names of certified Massachusetts police officers will start to be made public, along with information on those officers.
How much information is still under discussion by the Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, Commission.
At a virtual public hearing the commissioners heard some strong words on the subject. Annemarie Grant began with this.
"My brother, Thomas Purdy, was 38 years old when he was hogtied and asphyxiated to death by police in Nevada.”
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She wants everything, especially disciplinary action against officers, put out for public perusal.
“All information regarding complaints, investigations and results should be released to the public. For far too long bad acts have not seen the light of day.”
Rebecca Jacobstein, an attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, also said the law on this is too narrow.
“The POST Commission collects information on officers who are convicted of felonies. But under 8055E will not disclose those convictions in their database.”
But the president of the MA Association for Professional Law Enforcement, Dennis Galvin, said while the need for transparency is real so is the safety of police officers.
“We would just ask to be very sensitive to the fact that police often operate in a very dangerous adversarial environment and there’s an issue of safety at stake and we would ask you to always keep that in mind.”
Under the law that created the POST Commission, all police officers in Massachusetts must be certified and then recertified on a three-year cycle based on their last names. Officers with last names starting with the letters A through H needed to apply for recertification by July 1.
The new information will come out in waves as more certifications and re-certifications happen.