|Massachusetts State Police|
Massachusetts State Police seal
|Operations jurisdiction||Massachusetts, USA|
|Massachusetts State Police Troop Map|
|Size||10,565 square miles (27,360 km2)|
|Population||6,811,779 (2016 est.)|
|Legal jurisdiction||Commonwealth of Massachusetts|
|Governing body||Commonwealth of Massachusetts|
|Parent agency||Executive Office of Public Safety and Security|
|Patrol Vehicles||Ford Crown Victoria, Ford Explorer|
|Aviation Units||Eurocopter AS355|
The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) is an agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Executive Office of Public Safety and Security responsible for criminal law enforcement and traffic vehicle regulation across the state. At present, it has approximately 2,300 officers, 1,500 of them being uniformed troopers, and 400 civilian support staff--making it the largest law enforcement agency in New England. The MSP is headed by Colonel Christopher Mason.
It investigates instances of wrongful deaths in most Massachusetts cities.
The MSP was established by Governor John A. Andrew when he signed a law creating the State Constabulary on May 16, 1865. This legislative act to "establish a State Police Force," founded the first statewide enforcement agency in the nation. The first leader of the State Police was William Sterling King, an American officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The agency remained small and rather informal until 1921, when the MSP was enlarged to comprise 50 officers stationed in barracks across the state with the primary mission of providing law enforcement to rural areas underserved by existing local police agencies. This law enforcement mission was performed by the trooper on horseback, usually, and in motor cars in areas with upgraded roads. The MSP enlarged its mission to handle primary vehicular regulation on the Commonwealth's interstate and limited-access highways after their development mid-century; during this period, it also established a presence in protecting Logan International Airport.
For much of the twentieth century, the MSP was organized along militaristic lines with a heavy emphasis on the role of the barracks, spartan working conditions, and a uniformity in appearance and internal culture. Until recently, the MSP maintained one of the strictest regimens for physical size requirements for applicants. Efforts are being made presently to render the department more racially diverse, as well as more inclusive of women and LGBT officers.
The history of the agency is being researched and preserved for the 2010 opening of the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center. The museum is being made possible by funding of MSP troopers and employees. The museum will be located at the site of the former Troop C2 barracks in Grafton. There is currently a temporary museum at the barracks until construction is completed. Planned exhibits for the museum are
Since the MSP's inception, 32 troopers have been killed in the line of duty. The earliest death was in 1909 and the latest death was March 16, 2016.
As of 2011 troopers have started carrying the Smith & Wesson M&P pistol in .45 ACP. Prior troopers carried the SIG Sauer P226 DAK (Double-Action Kellerman) in .40 S&W, prior to those the agency issued the SIG Sauer P226 in 9mm from the early 1990s. During the 1980s the .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 65 was issued to the troopers. As for off-duty and special assignments different weapons were issued and during the 1980s a common weapon was the .38 Special Smith & Wesson Bodyguard revolver. During the 1960s and 1970s the MSP did issue the Walther PPK as a special assignment weapon.
In November 2019, Superintendent Gilpin announced her retirement as head of the Massachusetts State police after two years in the position.
In 1992, the former Massachusetts Department of Public Safety - Division of State Police, Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Police, Massachusetts Capitol Police, and Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) Police (commonly known as the Metropolitan Police) departments merged to form what is currently known as the Department of State Police (an agency within the Executive Office of Public Safety, which is different from the Department of Public Safety). The four former agencies officially ceased to exist on July 1, 1992. The distinctive uniform and seal of the former Division of State Police would be retained by the newly formed Department of State Police. The ranks of corporal and staff sergeant were not carried over into the new agency. The Massachusetts Environmental Police remained a separate entity under the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Environmental Law Enforcement, until it became a separate department-level office under the re-organised Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As of late, there has been political debate concerning the state police merging with the MBTA Transit Police.
The Massachusetts State Police rank structure is as listed:
|State Police Trainee|
Promotion to the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain are based on varying combinations of years of service, promotional exam score, and/or performance on oral examination boards. The ranks of Detective Lieutenant and Detective Captain are appointed; an individual must already have attained the rank of Lieutenant prior to being appointed to the rank of Detective Lieutenant and must have attained the rank of Captain prior to being appointed to the rank of Detective Captain.
The rank of Major and Lieutenant Colonel are appointed by the Colonel/Superintendent. The Deputy Superintendent holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The Colonel/Superintendent is appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth.
Rank structure prior to 1991:
The ranks of Corporal and Staff Sergeant existed until 1993.
Troop "A" includes the northeastern section of the commonwealth. The A Troop headquarters are located in Danvers, and there are 70 municipalities located within Troop A.
Troop A Barracks are located in:
Troop "B" includes the western section of the commonwealth. The B Troop headquarters are in Northampton. Troop B has primary law enforcement responsibilities in many municipalities that lack local police departments in Western Massachusetts.
Troop B Barracks are located in:
Troop "C" includes the central section of the commonwealth. It is the largest of the troops, and the C Troop headquarters are located in Holden. 85 towns rely on C Troop to assist with law enforcement or provide primary coverage. Troop C Barracks C8, located in New Braintree, has no operational Troopers, but is the New Braintree Emergency Dispatch Center, which is the PSAP (Public Safety Access Point) for police, fire and emergency medical services for the towns of New Braintree, Hardwick, Petersham, West Brookfield, North Brookfield, Brookfield, East Brookfield, Brimfield, Holland and Wales. It is co-located with the State Police Academy.
Troop C Barracks are located in:
Troop D Barracks are located in:
Troop "F" patrols and provides law enforcement and security for all properties of the Massachusetts Port Authority including Boston's Logan International Airport in East Boston along with the Port of Boston, and the World Trade Center, located in South Boston. Until 2010 its only barracks was located within the airport but has since moved to a building on the outskirts allowing for more space, parking, and better access to the property.
The Troop F Commander also serves as Massport's Director of Aviation Security.
Troop F Barracks is located in:
Troop "H" includes all of Boston and the metropolitan Boston area south, west, and northwest of Boston not covered by A-4 and A-5. This troop extends southwest to the Rhode Island border and west to the A Troop border in Waltham, and north to Somerville. Troop H headquarters are located in South Boston.
Troop H Barracks are located in:
Troop "E" was unique in that it did not encompass a section of the commonwealth, but was instead responsible for the Massachusetts Turnpike, which stretches from the New York border to Boston Harbor. Troop "E" headquarters were located in Boston and also patrolled Interstate 93 North and South from the Tip O'Neill Tunnel over the Zakim Bridge to Rutherford Avenue. The troop was eliminated effective May 2, 2018, following accusations of widespread overtime fraud by its members. Troops B, C, and H have taken responsibility for the four barracks and coverage of the Massachusetts Turnpike, while some personnel have been reassigned to Troop F for staff balancing.
Troop E Barracks were located in:
The State Police Community Action Team is a unique unit. The purpose of the CAT is to augment A, B, C, D, and H troop barracks with extra patrols to be used for various duties. They are a combination of an anti-crime unit and a motor vehicle enforcement unit, with a very large amount of freedom. The units are not part of any troop barracks, but rather elite units out of A, B, C, D, and H troop headquarters. The units do not take any mandatory calls, but rather respond to calls using discretion. Duties include routine patrol of high crime areas in inner cities, routine patrol of major highways, major traffic enforcement, routine plain-clothes foot or vehicle patrol, bicycle patrol, undercover missions with local police departments, and major traffic accident response. CAT troopers are also responsible for dignitary escorts, funeral prisoner escorts, attending community meetings, business seizures, school programs, static vehicle displays at community events, security at high-risk trials, security at parades, and many other various special missions. Also, during winter storms when roads are hazardous, CAT troopers perform normal barracks patrols in order to assist various troop barracks.
The Special Projects Team (SPT) team utilizes counter-insurgency (COIN) methodology to detect, disrupt, degrade and dismantle gang activity in Springfield. The team is utilizing a method termed "Counter Criminal Continuum Policing" or C3 Policing. It is composed of a lieutenant and six troopers.
This section provides reconstruction services to local and state police agencies for collisions involving fatalities or serious bodily injuries. Collision reconstruction specialists are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no charge to the requesting agency. The section responds to calls for assistance in the investigation of fatal or serious bodily injury collisions. C.A.R.S. conducts "at scene" investigations, measuring the scene using the Topcon Total Station, photogrammetry, or graduated tapes. The collision vehicles are examined for mechanical defects and the damage is documented. Data stored by the Event Data Recorder (EDR) is secured and analyzed, as each member is a Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) Technician and Analyst. Mathematical analysis of the data is performed when necessary. Scale diagrams and plates are produced as required, and a detailed reconstruction report is written. Expert testimony is provided by members in both civil and criminal actions. The section also provides detailed, scale mapping of large outdoor crime scenes, and assists agencies with routine mathematical analysis or vehicle examinations. The section is composed of seven sergeants and seventeen troopers, all of whom are active collision reconstructionists. The members of the section are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR), or are currently pursuing accreditation. The members also maintain memberships in many professional associations, such as the National Association of Professional Accident Reconstruction Specialists (NAPARS). The members, on average, handle approximately 30 cases each per year. They are further required to attain at least 40 hours of additional education/training per year.
Also called the "Truck Team," this unit has many duties and responsibilities. These duties include roadside inspection of commercial vehicles, insuring the safety of hazardous substances in transport, operating weigh stations, local commercial vehicle enforcement, investigating commercial vehicle crashes, investigations, and operating the regional commercial vehicle academy.
This is the State Police helicopter unit. The State Police Air Wing has provided the Commonwealth and its network of first responders with airborne support for over three decades. It has a fleet of five turbine helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. It is the largest and most comprehensive full-time public safety aviation unit in New England. Aircrews stand ready to respond from three strategically located Air Bases within the state 365 days a year. Currently, the unit consists of 21 pilots and tactical flight officers.
The STOP team serves as the State Police SWAT squad. This unit was created in 1971 and responds to major incidents, hostage situations, dangerous search warrants, arrest warrants, and any other serious events.
The SERT team serves as a requestable adjunct to local law enforcement agencies requesting state assistance in civil disturbances, special events, or missing persons searches.
The Marine Section provides routine river and marine patrol on the Charles River, Mystic River, and in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. It also provides a statewide response facility, using road transportable vessels.
The motorcycle unit is responsible for dignitary escorts, funeral escorts, prisoner escorts, and many other types of special missions.
The Mobile Field Force is a fairly new unit composed of troopers from various barracks and special units. Its purpose is rapid deployment to civilian protests and other major incidents. In October 2007, while coordinating with the Boston Police Department, the unit played a large role in responding to riots in Boston following the Red Sox World Series victory.
The State Police K-9 unit deploys approximately 41 highly trained canines to agencies throughout New England for search and rescue, criminal apprehension, narcotics detection, crowd control, missing persons searches, cadaver recovery searches, site security, arson detection, explosive detection, and other missions. Depending on specific mission requirements, members of the canine unit would work in support of, or in conjunction with, other specialized units including the Air Wing, STOP team, Marine Unit, Dive Team, and the SERT team. Their services are available upon request, without cost to the requesting agency. The State Police uses dogs such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, and Belgian Malinoises. In order to become a K-9 officer, one must be on the force for at least 5 years. Troopers also get a Massachusetts State Police K-9 cruiser.
The State Police Mounted Unit is an elite unit in the State Police. It consists of 15-25 police horses. This group of specialized troopers have been on the force for a minimum of 5 years prior to joining the Mounted Unit. The unit is located in Acton.
The Commonwealth is divided into 11 State Police detective units that work out of various district attorneys' offices. Boston, Springfield, and Worcester are the only cities in the Commonwealth that have the authority to investigate homicides. This responsibility is granted through the District Attorney's Office in each city's respective county. According to Massachusetts General Law, all homicides are under the control of the District Attorney in the county they occur. Only the District Attorney can delegate the responsibility of investigating homicides to another party. In Springfield and Worcester, it is the captain in charge of the Detective Bureau, and in Boston, it is the commander of the Homicide Unit. The various district attorneys' offices investigate all other homicides in any other cities or towns. The detective units also investigate many other major crimes and serious incidents.
The detective unit in the Attorney General's office is composed of the drug unit, the computer crimes unit, and various other specialized investigative squads. The unit investigates everything from white collar crime to drug distribution.
The VFAS is tasked with apprehending the commonwealth's most violent and elusive fugitives. The unit works with various local and federal agencies and is part of numerous task forces.
The Gang Unit is a statewide specialty unit established to: suppress criminal gang activity, investigate gang related crimes, and gather intelligence on known and suspected gang members. Gang Unit duties include street-level narcotics enforcement, weapons enforcement, criminal investigation, and special operations. The Gang Unit assists local cities and towns by conducting undercover narcotics operations and by providing additional officers to patrols dedicated to combating gang activity in high crime areas. In addition to these activities, the Gang Unit also provides local police departments with personnel, intelligence, expertise, and training specific to battling gang-related crime. The Gang Unit maintains partnerships with, and provides gang awareness training to, schools, corporations, social service agencies, probation officers, trial courts, District Attorneys' offices, and civilian groups. The Gang Unit's primary objective is to improve the quality of life of all citizens adversely affected by gang activity.
The State Police Auto Theft unit is equipped with extremely stealthy vehicles which are outfitted with the latest laptop computers, LPR (Licence Plate Recognition) systems, and LoJack systems. The unit's main task is investigating motor vehicle theft and chop shops, and performs a large amount of surveillance. This force was disbanded at the end of 2012 
Specially trained Massachusetts State Police detectives have functioned as State Fire Marshal investigators for more than fifty years. At present, the Fire & Explosion Investigative Section (F&EIS) consists of thirty-eight full-time members who make up the Fire Investigations and Hazardous Devices (Bomb Squad) units. F&EIS also consists of eight bomb techs, five bomb dogs and five accelerant detector dogs. Each unit has its own self-contained command and control structure and a specific jurisdiction to serve. Many of the investigators have been cross-trained to assist the other sections in time of need.
The main Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab is located in Maynard. There are several laboratory substations spread throughout the Commonwealth. The lab serves law enforcement agencies and District Attorneys throughout the Commonwealth, providing a wide array of support to facilitate effective investigations and criminal prosecutions. The Crime Lab examines evidence that can be used to help tie criminals to their crimes, victims to their assailants and exonerate innocent suspects. The Ballistics Section and Crime Scene Services Section are served by sworn personnel.
The lab is broken up into sections and units:
This division was formed in 2017 and oversees the Commonwealth Fusion Center and the Preparedness and Planning Section, which contains a new Watch Center that is open 24 hours a day. The fusion center's job is collect and analyze intelligence relating to terrorism and criminal activity which is then shared among other law enforcement agencies. The Fusion Center is based in Maynard, Massachusetts and is overseen by a Major.
The Preparedness and Planning section oversees security planning for major Massachusetts events such as the Boston Marathon and Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular among others. It is also responsible for response planning to critical incidents and natural disasters. It is located at State Police Headquarters in Framingham and is overseen by a Major.
Recruit and in-service training for the Massachusetts State Police takes place at the MSP academy located centrally in Massachusetts at 340 West Brookfield Road in New Braintree. Prior to the 1992 merger, the Division of State Police's Training Academy was located in Framingham. This facility now houses the Department of State Police General Headquarters.
Becoming a trooper is a competitive process. Approximately 14,000 men and women took the written entrance exam in June 2002. Out of that, only a few hundred were selected to become members of the MSP. After receiving a conditional job offer, the recruit has to make it through 24 weeks of paramilitary training as part of a Recruit Training Troop (RTT). As of April 2009, the State Police no longer administers its own standalone examination for appointment to the department. The State Police now generates a prospective list from candidates that take the Massachusetts Police Officer Civil Service examination who elect to be considered for appointment to the State Police; this is the same examination that is used by many municipal departments and the MBTA.
On October 17, 2011, the 80th RTT began training. This was the first class in over five years. During the 24 weeks of training the recruit lives at the academy Monday through Friday. The 80th RTT class began with 250 trainees, adding 25 trainees in the first two weeks of training as others departed the program. Their day starts at 5:30 a.m. and goes until 8 p.m. with lights out around 9:30. The recruits attend over 98 academic classes and must pass 10 cumulative exams with a passing score of 70%. Along with classes, recruits have to take part in daily physical regimens such as running and weightlifting. The 80th RTT graduated a record 208 new troopers on March 9, 2012.
The academy takes a toll both mentally and physically on the recruit, and many recruits do not make it through. The typical academy washout rate is around 28-30%. For example, when the 77th RTT started in November 2004, there were 180 recruits. During the first week, 44 recruits dropped out and 34 new recruits had to be added in. By the end of the then 26 weeks, only 137 graduated.
Now, during the 83rd RTT, there is no more back-filling the academy class. The 83rd RTT began with 247 troops and will expect to graduate around 175 come January 2018.
The academy also hosts the biannual Massachusetts State Police Student Trooper Program. The Student Trooper program is an intensive, one-week, residential learning experience for young adults, ages 15 thru 17.
The MSP is one of the few State Police Departments in the US where the percentage of African American officers (11%) is significantly greater than that of the state population (6.97%).
As of 2017, the Massachusetts State Police average pay for a state trooper was $145,413, with three troopers earning over $300,000, and 245 troopers (12% of the workforce) earning over $200,000. A trooper's base pay is augmented by working multiple details, directing traffic, overtime shifts, or providing security at special events.
Former Massachusetts inspector general Greg Sullivan criticized state police overtime as excessive, pointing out an unusual number of troopers who earned more in 2017 than the governor of the state. He cited the use of state police instead of civilian employees to direct traffic at construction details and Logan Airport as examples of wasteful spending. Sullivan that the reason overtime pay is so large is that the officers who make overtime assignments also partake of the benefits of overtime, leaving no incentive to reduce the practice. In 2017, 24 troopers earned more than $100,000 in overtime, and 20 in Troop F earned more than $250,000, a fact which was not revealed until missing payroll records were noticed by the Boston Globe.
Along with their base salary and overtime, troopers have other benefits to include:
In September 2005, an investigation was begun after allegations of illegal hazing at the State Police Training Academy were brought to light. During the investigation, it was learned that 43 different recruits from the 78th troop had been hospitalized between July and September for a variety of injuries. Aside from the medical issues, the investigation found multiple incidents of prohibited hazing by instructors and staff, including forcing recruits to wear other recruits soiled underwear on their heads, instructors waterboarding recruits by holding their heads underwater in a toilet bowl, and refusing to allow recruits to use bathrooms when needed. As a result of the investigation three officers were removed from their positions, including the Academy Commandant, Lt. Richard Lane of Sterling, MA. Other demoted instructors included Troopers Eric Baldwin and Paul Weinshenk. A six-month independent review, headed by former Essex District Attorney Kevin M. Burke found that under Lt. Lane's tenure, academy leadership had been beset by "confusion, inadequate communications and poor oversight of training operations." As a result, the report said, the academy training staff itself is plagued by "role conflict, confusion, uncertainty and ineffective communications." The recruit training program was effectively shut down, with the next class not graduating until 2012.
In February 2006, a respected state police sergeant, Brian O'Hare, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after soliciting what he thought was an underage boy for sex, who was actually an undercover FBI Agent. O'Hare was discharged from the state police and subsequently sentenced to 5 years in federal prison.
In March 2017 the Boston Globe reported on allegations of discrimination within the State Police against minority state troopers.
In October 2017, a state police arrest report of a judge's daughter, Alli Bibaud, was changed to remove an embarrassing and incriminating statement ("Do You Know How Many People I Had To Blow To Get That,") concerning how she obtained the heroin she allegedly possessed. An online blog, listing "many" troopers as sources, allege that the report was changed due to Dudley District Court Judge Tim Bibaud calling District Attorney Joseph Early and Colonel Richard McKeon, who in turn directed Major Susan Anderson to have the statement removed. On November 7, 2017, the trooper who was ordered to change his report, Ryan Sceviour, sued the leadership of the state police for reversal of the discipline he received for including the embarrassing and incriminating statements in his report, as well as an official apology, lawyers fees, and punitive damages. On November 11, 2017, Colonel Richard McKeon retired in the midst of the scandal.
In February 2018, an online news blog, Turtleboysports.com, broke a story that Trooper Leigha Genduso, who was assigned to the K-9 unit, was hired by the state police in spite of testifying during grand jury proceedings targeting her former boyfriend, before her hire as first a civilian dispatcher and then state trooper, that she smoked marijuana daily, sold marijuana in amounts up to 10 pounds at a time, took various other prescription drugs not prescribed to her, and laundered money from her former boyfriend's drug profits. There was also information from "many sources" that Genduso's boyfriend at the time of her hire, then-Major (eventually Lieutenant Colonel) Daniel Risteen, used his influence to gain her favorable treatment and highly desirable assignments usually only offered to troopers with many years seniority.
On February 23, 2018, Lieutenant Colonel Risteen abruptly retired from the state police.
On Friday, August 24, 2018 Leigha Genduso resigned from the Massachusetts State Police.
On March 20, 2018, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that her office was reviewing the "apparent discrepancies between overtime paid and actual patrols worked," by 21 state troopers of the Troop E division. Of the 21 state troopers, 19 are active, one retired last year, and another, Trooper Matthew Sheehan, was already suspended due to racist messages he posted online. Colonel Kerry Gilpin addressed the media and said one of the alleged offenders put in for as many as 100 no-show shifts during 2016.
On April 2, 2018, Governor Baker announced the elimination of Troop E due to the ongoing overtime investigation that found dozens of active and former troopers allegedly putting in for overtime shifts for which they did not work. State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin also announced that location of State Police cruisers will be tracked by Global Positioning System (GPS) technology known as automatic vehicle Locator technology, and the state police will also develop a body camera program.
On June 27, 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested three Massachusetts state troopers for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars for overtime work they didn't complete in calendar year 2016. The troopers allegedly took steps to conceal their fraud by altering tickets written to make it look like the citations were issued during claimed overtime shifts. Sometimes tickets submitted by the officers were fictitious or never actually issued to known motorists. Each of the three officers were charged with a single embezzlement count.
On March 26, 2018. the Boston Globe reported that payroll records for the 140-trooper Massachusetts State Police Troop F, which provides law enforcement and security for all properties of the Massachusetts Port Authority, have been hidden from public view and weren't filed with the state comptroller for several years. Almost 80 percent of the troopers assigned to Troop F earned more than the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker. Pay for the trooper comes from the Massachusetts Port Authority, but the police troopers are employees of the Massachusetts State Police and operations are overseen by commanders of the State Police.
After the Boston Globe report came out, Governor Baker said that the act of not disclosing years of payroll records for Troop F of the State Police was "clearly deliberate," and state Comptroller Thomas Shack demanded to know if other state agencies were failing to reveal other payroll records.
On March 30, 2018, the Globe reported a Troop F detective, Lieutenant earned more than $300,000 each year between 2015 and 2017. The Lieutenant was the highest paid employee of the Massachusetts State Police for the years 2014 - 2016.
[T]wo to Troop H, one to Troop C, and one to Troop B
State Police Troop B patrols the majority of the Pioneer Valley, and has taken on the Westfield barracks, according to the release.
[T]wo to Troop H, one to Troop C, and one to Troop B