Licensing Police Officers
It's the responsibility of the legislature to do what they've done for many other professions to have consequence for repeated misconduct or single acts of egregious misconduct," Raoul said.
"If they have an egregious act of official misconduct or a pattern of such, they can have their license taken away such that they cannot participate in that profession anymore and that should be the same thing for a law enforcement officer who is capable of using deadly force in carrying out his or her duties."
Raoul said a state licensing system would ensure that officers with repeated misconduct claims could have their licenses pulled - regardless of how discipline is handled in a police union contract - and they would then be forbidden from continuing to do police work in another city. He argues such a system could've disciplined so-called bad apple cops.
Along with five other states, Massachusetts does not license police officers but requires licenses for over 50 other trades and professions, including hairdressers, barbers, plumbers, electricians, lawyers, teachers, doctors and many others.
Even though police officers carry weapons and can severely injure or kill people, Massachusetts does not require them to be licensed and, as a result, there is no procedure to revoke the license of a police officer who engages in serious misconduct. Even if fired or convicted of a crime, a Massachusetts police officer can go to another law enforcement agency and work as an officer.
Most other states have a commission referred to as a POST Commission (for Peace Officer Standards and Training), which requires adequate training, licenses police officers, and revokes or suspends the license in cases of wrongdoing. The ACLU of Massachusetts supports efforts to make Massachusetts a POST state to help protect the public from those officers who endanger public safety. We also support fair procedures to provide due process to those officers whose licenses may be revoked.
Massachusetts is one of six states - along with New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California and Hawaii - that lacks the authority to revoke police officers licenses to serve, a process known as decertification.
Leaving a bad apple in the barrel spoils the entire barrel.
Police academies take 800 hours.
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