A Guide for New Appointed Police Chiefs in Massachusetts


In an effort to provide new (or not so new) chiefs in Massachusetts with information specific to this state, this manual has been developed.

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A Guide for Newly Appointed Police Chiefs in Massachusetts (2023 Edition) (PDF DOWNLOAD ONLY)

Rarely will chiefs report that, prior to their appointment they felt fully trained for all aspects of the job. Some assumed the position after rising through the ranks, with years of experience. Others were thrust into the role of chief very early in their career. In nearly all cases, chiefs recall that too much of their education came from “on the job training” after their appointment.

For years, the need for more formal preparation for chiefs and command staff has been recognized. The International Association of Chiefs of Police publishes the Police Chiefs Desk Reference: A Guide for Newly Appointed Police Leaders, a guide which is particularly useful for new chiefs. It is available to download for free at:

This guide has been developed to provide newer chiefs and police leaders with a basic overview of many of the laws which they will encounter during their tenure.

This guide was produced after the passage of An Act Relative to Justice, Equity and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth, otherwise known as the police reform law.1 This reform law created a Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) for the first time in Massachusetts. While much of the law has already been implemented, many aspects are still being developed and the situation remains fluid. As a result, this topic has not been covered within this edition of this guide, and new chiefs are best advised to consult the POST website for the most up-to-date information at: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/post-commission

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