The Police Reform law in Massachusetts, under (M.G.L. c 6E) establishes several new duties and responsibilities for Police Officers in Massachusetts in regard to an officer’s duty to Intervene and to Report the use of physical force by another police officer beyond that which is necessary or objectively reasonable (M.G.L c 6 E section 15). The Police Reform Law also establishes a new responsibility on Massachusetts Police Officers in regard to a ‘duty to intervene or attempt to intervene’, to prevent another officer from engaging in prohibited conduct or behavior, including, but not limited to, excessive or prohibited force in violation of section 15; (M.G.L. c 6E section 10 paragraph 15)
- The duties and responsibilities of Police Officers under each section.
- The duties and responsibility of the agency to avoid civil liability.
- The duty to report. What does it require?
- What is the standard for intervention? Verbal intervention vs physical intervention.
- The duties and responsibilities of a Supervisor vs those of a Police Officer.
- Does attempting to de-escalate the situation trigger the need for reports?
- The role of ‘perspective’ in the intervention and reporting requirement.
- How does assessing and evaluating the circumstances impact the intervention requirement.
- Discussion of established Case law.
- Having the time to evaluate before acting (court decisions).
- The Officers ability and need to assess, evaluate the circumstances before them, and then, if necessary, act in a reasonable and timely manner.
- Conducting a preliminary inquiry and collecting information before making a decision on reporting.
- Training Scenarios reviewed and discussed
M.G.L. c 6E Section 15
(a) An officer present and observing another officer using physical force, including deadly force, beyond that which is necessary or objectively reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances, shall intervene to prevent the use of unreasonable force unless intervening would result in imminent harm to the officer or another identifiable individual.
M.G.L. c 6E Section 15
(b) An officer who observes another officer using physical force, including deadly force, beyond that which is necessary or objectively reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances shall report the incident to an appropriate supervisor as soon as reasonably possible but not later than the end of the officer’s shift. The officer shall prepare a detailed written statement describing the incident consistent with uniform protocols. The officer’s written statement shall be included in the supervisor’s report
M.G.L. c 6E Section 10 paragraph 15
(a) The commission shall, after a hearing, REVOKE an officer’s certification if the commission finds by clear and convincing evidence that:
(xv) the officer failed to intervene, or attempt to intervene, to prevent another officer from engaging in prohibited conduct or behavior, including, but not limited to, excessive or prohibited force in violation of section 15