MA State Police Union Accepts GPS Tracking Technology

25 Feb 2020

The MA State Police union decided to adopt GPS tracking where police cruisers will be tracked with a trade-off of modest pay raises in a recent agreed contract with the state.

Representing most of the 2,200 police officers, the Massachusetts State Police Association agreed in recent weeks to the contract terms, reported The Boston Globe on Tuesday. For the past two years, troopers have been working under an expired contract.

In light of the overtime corruption scandal through the state agency, Gov. Charlie Baker pushed for the use of GPS trackers. Dozens of troopers and supervisors, over the past couple of years:

  • Were accused of being paid overtime for hours they didn’t work
  • Tried to cover their absences by lying on paperwork.

As federal and state authorities investigate this alleged overtime shifts abuse on the MA Turnpike, more than 40 Massachusetts State Police members are under investigation.

Dozens of troopers were identified by a state police audit to have been paid for overtime hours they never worked.

Federal authorities announced their investigation’s first criminal charges of the alleged fraud on June 27. Thirty-two troopers under investigation were identified by MassLive.

While Massachusetts State Police troopers took an oath the uphold the law, according to authorities, a group of troopers broke the law and violated the public’s trust by stealing overtime pay.

Ten troopers were charged in federal or state court in this investigation of state police overtime. Many of them have received a sentence; some only received one day in prison, however, judges issuing the sentences already considered the time committed.

These 10 charged troopers were accused of:

  • Writing phony traffic citations
  • Skipping shifts
  • Not showing up at all for the overtime hours

Christopher Mason, State Police Colonel, last week, demonstrated to members of the media the new Automated Vehicle Locator system, which is installed in almost 3,000 cruisers, allowing supervisors to see all the MSP cruisers’ locations instantly.

Eventually state troopers will have access to this locator.

According to Col. Mason, this capability provides for:

  • Enhanced control and command of Department assets during a crucial incident
  • Increased officer safety
  • Greater personnel supervision

The state police commander and Baker at the time used the GPS tracker in May 2018. However, the union claimed the state broke the rules and that using tracking like this should be decided through collective bargaining. A lawsuit and multiple labor relations complaints were filed by the union.

But, the union, since agreeing to this new contract, has withdrawn the lawsuit and its complaints, according to the union’s spokeswoman, Nancy Sterling.

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