Governor Baker Proposes Amendments To Landmark Police Reform Bill

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Police reform in the Commonwealth is going to take a bit longer than anticipated — after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sent a landmark bill back to lawmakers on Thursday with proposed amendments.

This comes after the bill faced criticism by police unions, including the Police Association of Massachusetts, which said it supports reasonable policing reform but had concerns about the legislation.

The landmark reform and accountability bill passed through the legislature on Dec. 1, 2020, garnering a 28-12 vote in the state Senate and a 92-67 vote in the Massachusetts House. Neither body had enough votes to support a veto-proof majority.

In a letter to lawmakers, Baker said he gives credit for their work, but added that he disagrees on several key components of the bill.

Baker said he opposes the bill's ban of facial recognition technology in policing, citing the role it can play in solving crimes.

He added that the main point of disagreement is the legislation's creation of a commission mostly led by civilians that would have the power to certify and decertify officers, as well as standardize officer training.

Baker said he doesn't accept the premise that civilians know best on how to train police, instead arguing that it should be up to law enforcement officials in the executive branch.

The legislature will now consider the Governor’s amendments. Baker said on Thursday that he is not afraid to use a veto if lawmakers refuse to cooperate, which could force them to start over from scratch when the new session begins in January.

WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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