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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 116G: In-service training program for local law enforcement officers and officials; bias-free policing; de-escalation and disengagement tactics; incidents impacted by mental health or developmental disability issues

[Subsection (a) effective until July 1, 2021. For text effective July 1, 2021, see below.]

Section 116G. (a) As used in this section, ''bias-free policing'' shall mean decisions made by law enforcement officers that shall not consider a person's race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, mental or physical disability, immigration status or socioeconomic or professional level.

[Subsection (a) as amended by 2020, 253, Sec. 18 effective July 1, 2021. See 2020, 253, Sec. 122. For text effective until July 1, 2021, see above.]

(a) As used in this section, ''bias-free policing shall have the same meaning as defined in section 1 of chapter 6E.

(b) The municipal police training committee, in consultation with the executive office of public safety and security, shall establish and develop an in-service training program designed to train local law enforcement officers and officials in the following areas:

(i) practices and procedures related to bias-free policing which shall include, but not be limited to, examining attitudes and stereotypes that affect the actions and decisions of law enforcement officers;

(ii) practices and techniques for law enforcement officers in civilian interaction and to promote procedural justice, which shall emphasize de-escalation and disengagement tactics and techniques and procedures, including developmentally appropriate de-escalation and disengagement tactics, techniques and procedures and other alternatives to the use of force for minor children, that build community trust and maintain community confidence;

(iii) handling emergencies and complaints, including, but not limited to, those involving victims, witnesses or suspects with mental illness, substance use disorder, trauma history or developmental or intellectual disabilities, which shall include training related to common behavior and actions exhibited by such individuals, strategies law enforcement officers may use for reducing or preventing the risk of harm and strategies that involve the least intrusive means of addressing such incidences and individuals while protecting the safety of the law enforcement officer and other persons; provided, however, that training presenters shall include certified mental health practitioners with expertise in the delivery of direct services to individuals, including victims, witnesses or suspects with mental illness, substance use disorder, trauma history or developmental or intellectual disabilities in emergency situations;

(iv) practices and techniques related to responding to mass gatherings or protests that shall emphasize de-escalation and minimizing the necessity for use of force; and

(v) cultural competency.

(c) The committee shall determine training requirements and minimum standards of the program that all local law enforcement agencies throughout the commonwealth shall implement in their practices and training of law enforcement officials.