Section 108L. There is hereby established a career incentive pay program offering base salary increases to regular full-time members of the various city and town police departments as a reward for furthering their education in the field of policework.
Police career incentive base salary increases shall be predicated on the accumulation of points earned in the following manner: one point for each semester hour credit earned toward a baccalaureate or an associate degree; sixty points for an associate degree; one hundred and twenty points for a baccalaureate degree; and one hundred and fifty points for a degree of master or for a degree in law; provided, that said credits or degrees were earned in courses leading towards a degree in law enforcement or any course or degree program approved by the board of higher education prior to July 1st, 1976. All semester credits and degrees shall be earned in an educational institution accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools or by the board of higher education, and shall be credited for the purpose of determining points under this section, notwithstanding the date of appointment of an individual to a position described in the first paragraph of this section.
The board of higher education is hereby authorized and directed to establish and maintain a list of approved courses leading to a degree in law enforcement.
Base salary increases authorized by this section shall be granted in the following manner: a three per cent increase for ten points so accumulated, a six per cent increase for twenty-five points, a ten per cent increase for forty points, a fifteen per cent increase for sixty points, a twenty per cent increase for one hundred and twenty points, and a thirty per cent increase for one hundred and fifty points so accumulated.
Any city or town which accepts the provisions of this section and provides career incentive salary increases for police officers shall be reimbursed by the commonwealth for one half the cost of such payments upon certification by the board of higher education. The board of higher education shall certify the amount of such reimbursement to be paid to such city or town from information filed on or before September first of each year with said board, on a form furnished by it, the chief of police, or one of similar rank, of the city or town police department. Said information shall be filed on a form to be furnished by the board of higher education.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, no such regular full-time police officer shall be entitled to such pay increase for points earned after September 1st, 1976; provided, however, that such police officer who is certified as of September 1st, 1976 in the police career incentive program leading to a degree in law enforcement shall only be granted further base salary increases of fifteen per cent for an associate’s degree in law enforcement, or sixty points earned toward a baccalaureate degree in law enforcement, a twenty per cent increase for a baccalaureate degree in law enforcement, a thirty per cent increase for a master’s degree in law enforcement or for a degree in law; or any police officer enrolled in any course or degree program approved by the board of higher education, prior to July 1st, 1976, shall only be granted further base salary increases of fifteen per cent for an associate’s degree or sixty points earned toward a baccalaureate degree, a twenty per cent increase for a baccalaureate degree, and a thirty per cent increase for a master’s degree or for a degree in law, provided further, that such percentage increase shall in total, including any previously earned increase, not exceed fifteen per cent for an associate’s degree or sixty points earned toward a baccalaureate degree, twenty per cent for a baccalaureate degree, and thirty per cent for a master’s degree or for a degree in law, provided further, that any regular full-time police officer commencing such incentive pay program after September 1st, 1976 shall be granted a base salary increase of ten per cent upon attaining an associate’s degree in law enforcement or sixty points earned to a baccalaureate degree in law enforcement, a twenty per cent increase upon attaining a baccalaureate degree in law enforcement, and a twenty-five per cent increase upon attaining a master’s degree in law enforcement or for a degree in law.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, the board of higher education shall establish quality guidelines, including, but not limited to, standards and review processes, for programs pursued for police career incentive pay increases under this section. Any such degree shall have been earned through a program approved by the board of higher education as meeting or exceeding academic standards established by the above-mentioned guidelines. Under no circumstances, shall said board certify any program which grants credits for the following: life experience; courses taught by instructors lacking appropriate educational degrees as determined by said board; and courses lacking appropriate concentration on academic and scholarly research. For the purposes of fulfilling the duties and obligations set forth in this section, the board of higher education shall have the authority to conduct periodic reviews of criminal justice or law degree programs offered by independent regionally accredited colleges and universities. The board of higher education shall only certify career incentive pay increases earned through the completion of programs that meet the board’s guidelines, but police officers enrolled, prior to the implementation of the quality guidelines, in degree granting programs in order to receive career incentive base salary adjustments shall, upon attainment of said degree, be eligible for certification by the board of higher education to receive career incentive base salary increases pursuant to the provisions of this section in effect prior to the quality guidelines established pursuant to this paragraph. Police officers receiving career incentive base salary adjustments prior to the implementation of the quality guidelines shall continue to receive such base salary adjustments, as certified by said board, pursuant to the provisions of this section in effect prior to the quality guidelines established pursuant to this paragraph.
Only graduates of: (1) criminal justice or law enforcement programs that meet or exceed the guidelines for criminal justice and law enforcement programs, as set forth by the board of higher education and implemented on January 1, 2004; or (2) law schools that are New England Association of School and Colleges accredited or board approved and who have passed the Massachusetts bar examination, shall be eligible for the police career incentive pay program.
The president of a New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredited institution or board of higher education approved institution shall submit a letter of intent to seek approval of its criminal justice degree program to the chancellor of higher education by May 1 of the year in which the institution intends to submit an application. The letter of intent shall include a statement of commitment to implement Standard D, Admission and Articulation, for all students enrolling in a criminal justice or law enforcement program after May 1 of the calendar year in which the letter is submitted. All programs shall meet the guidelines for criminal justice and law enforcement programs as approved by the board of higher education.
An application for approval as a police career incentive pay program participating institution shall be developed by the board of higher education and shall include the following: (1) a profile of the program; (2) demonstration of the program’s fulfillment of the standards as stated in the guidelines; and (3) an application fee to cover the evaluation costs of the review process. Applications shall be submitted according to the timetable established by the board of higher education.
Each institution shall pay an evaluation fee to the board of higher education’s police career incentive pay program quality assurance trust fund to cover the costs of review of its program. In addition to the fee, the institution shall pay for travel, room, board and other normal expenses of the external evaluation committee. If the committee requires subsequent visits, the board of higher education shall charge for further expenses at its discretion. Evaluation fees shall be determined by the total number of degrees awarded to all students enrolled in the criminal justice and law enforcement program being reviewed based on an average of the 3 years immediately prior to the submission of the application.
Fees shall be determined by the total number of degrees awarded to all students in the criminal justice and law enforcement program being reviewed in the following manner: $1,000 for institutions awarding fewer than 20 criminal justice or law enforcement degrees per year; $1,500 for institutions awarding between 20 and 50 criminal justice or law enforcement degrees per year; $2,000 for institutions awarding between 51 and 100 criminal justice or law enforcement degrees per year; $2,500 for institutions awarding between 101 and 150 criminal justice or law enforcement degrees per year; $3,000 for institutions awarding between 151 and 200 criminal justice or law enforcement degrees per year; and $3,500 for institutions awarding over 200 criminal justice or law enforcement degrees per year.
Once an application is submitted, the following timetable shall apply: (1) within 30 business days, board staff shall determine whether or not the application is complete and notify the institution; (2) within 30 business days of notification to the institution that the application is complete, an external evaluation committee shall be appointed in accordance with the guidelines; (3) within 30 business days of completing the evaluation of a program’s application, the external evaluation committee shall submit a report to board staff; (4) within 30 business days of receipt of the report, board staff shall send the committee’s report to the institution with a response required; (5) the institution may request an extension, if needed, to respond adequately to the committee’s report; (6) within 30 business days of receiving the institution’s response, the staff of the board shall evaluate materials submitted by the institution, the committee’s written report, the written response from the institution, and any additional information submitted by the institution, including a request for a delay; (7) based on its review, board staff shall make a recommendation to the board for deferral, approval, or disapproval, and the board shall take action by formal vote; and (8) if the board’s determination is to disapprove the institution’s request, the board shall provide a statement of reasons for the decision.
Programs approved by the board of higher education shall be included on an approved program list for 5 years. The institutions shall annually submit a status report on its approved programs to the board. Programs receiving deferrals from the board shall receive specific conditions that must be met and a timetable for coming into compliance. Programs not approved by the board may not re-apply for at least 1 calendar year following the board’s determination.
When, in the judgment of the board staff, a review or inspection of a degree program is necessary, the board, in consultation with the applicant institution, shall select and appoint an external evaluation committee to serve in the following manner: (1) the committee shall review the materials submitted by the program, visit the institution, and submit a report to the board containing recommendations regarding the programs request for approval; (2) the number of reviewers on the committee shall be determined by size, number and level of the program being reviewed and shall, under no circumstances have fewer than 2 academicians; (3) to be eligible to serve as an evaluator, individuals shall have earned at least a master’s degree in criminal justice or a closely related discipline and academic team members shall have professional experience in college-level teaching, research, administration or other relevant activities with institutions of higher education, and practitioners shall have at least 5 years of full-time supervisory or administrative experience as a criminal justice practitioner, as well as specific knowledge of or experience in criminal justice education; (4) no person shall serve as an evaluator who is employed by an institution considered by the board to be in direct competition with the institution under review; (5) no person shall serve as an evaluator who has a present or recent official or unofficial connection with the institution under review, or who the board has reason to believe has independent or pecuniary interest in the outcome of the board’s final action; provided, however, that external evaluators shall have a disinterested professional commitment to the task of rendering objective finding and recommendations based upon empirical evidence and informed judgments; (6) each committee shall have a chairperson who shall be responsible for providing leadership to the committee, for being the committee’s liaison with the institution and for preparing with other committee members, the committee’s report; (7) the committee shall submit a written report, including recommendations to the board, and board staff shall forward a copy of the report to the institution to correct factual errors and respond to the content and recommendations within the report; (8) evaluators shall be given an honorarium by the board of higher education and all expenses shall be paid by the institution under review; and (9) evaluators shall be provided an orientation before conducting reviews.
Annually, each approved institution shall submit 2 copies of a report to the board reviewing the status of the institution’s criminal justice and law enforcement program. This report shall certify that the criminal justice program is being maintained and operated within the provisions and guidelines set forth by the board of higher education guidelines for criminal justice and law enforcement programs. If at any time, in the judgment of the board staff, there is a reasonable probability of non-compliance with the board’s guidelines by a particular institution, the board may review the institution to determine if continued approval of the institution is proper.
An institution that is in objection of an adverse decision may appeal the board’s determination. The appeal shall be heard by a review panel appointed by the board of higher education and the findings and recommendations of the panel shall be received by the board whose decision shall be final.