Skip to Content

General Laws

Section 2. Each police chief shall issue citation books to each permanent full-time police officer of his department whose duties may or will include traffic duty or traffic law enforcement, or directing or controlling traffic, and to such other officers as he at his discretion may determine. Each police chief shall obtain a receipt on a form approved by the registrar from such officer to whom a citation book has been issued. Each police chief shall also maintain citation books at police headquarters for the recording of automobile law violations by police officers to whom citation books have not been issued.

Each police chief appointed by the trustees of the commonwealth’s state universities and community colleges under section 22 of chapter 15A shall certify to the registrar, on or before January first of each year, that:

(a) the police officers appointed by the trustees at the state university or community college have been issued a current first aid/CPR certificate;

(b)(i)(A) 51 per cent of such police officers have completed either the basic full-time recruit academy operated or certified by the municipal police training committee or the campus police academy operated by the Massachusetts state police, or

(B) 51 per cent of the police officers have completed a basic reserve/intermittent police officer training course approved by the municipal police training committee and have had at least 5 years experience issuing citations pursuant to this chapter; and

(ii) the remaining 49 per cent of police officers have completed a minimum of a basic reserve/intermittent police officer training course approved by the municipal police training committee;

(c) such officers have completed annual in-service training of no less than 40 hours;

(d) such officers meet the same firearms qualification standards as set from time to time by the municipal police training committee if such officers have been authorized by the board of trustees of the state university or community college to carry firearms;

(e) the state university or community college police department submits uniform crime reports to the FBI;

(f) a memorandum of understanding has been entered into with the police chief of the municipality wherein the state university or community college is located outlining the policies and procedures for utilizing the municipality’s booking and lock-up facilities, fingerprinting and breathalyzer equipment if the state university or community college police department does not provide booking and lock-up facilities, fingerprinting or breathalyzer equipment; and

(g) the state university or community college police department has policies and procedures in place for use of force, pursuit, arrest, search and seizure, racial profiling and motor vehicle law enforcement.

Notwithstanding the previous paragraph, nothing in this section shall limit the authority granted to the police chiefs and police officers at the state universities and community colleges under said section 22 of said chapter 15A or section 18 of chapter 73.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law, other than a provision of this chapter, to the contrary, any police officer assigned to traffic enforcement duty shall, whether or not the offense occurs within his presence, record the occurrence of automobile law violations upon a citation, filling out the citation and each copy thereof as soon as possible and as completely as possible and indicating thereon for each such violation whether the citation shall constitute a written warning and, if not, whether the violation is a criminal offense for which an application for a complaint as provided by subsection B of section three shall be made, whether the violation is a civil motor vehicle infraction which may be disposed of in accordance with subsection (A) of said section three, or whether the violator has been arrested in accordance with section twenty-one of chapter ninety. Said police officer shall inform the violator of the violation and shall give a copy of the citation to the violator. Such citation shall be signed by said police officer and by the violator, and whenever a citation is given to the violator in person that fact shall be so certified by the police officer. The violator shall be requested to sign the citation in order to acknowledge that is has been received. If a written warning is indicated, no further action need be taken by the violator. No other form of notice, except as provided in this section, need be given to the violator.

A failure to give a copy of the citation to the violator at the time and place of the violation shall constitute a defense in any court proceeding for such violation, except where the violator could not have been stopped or where additional time was reasonably necessary to determine the nature of the violation or the identity of the violator, or where the court finds that a circumstance, not inconsistent with the purpose of this section to create a uniform, simplified and non-criminal method for disposing of automobile law violations, justifies the failure. In such case the violation shall be recorded upon a citation as soon as possible after such violation and the citation shall be delivered to the violator or mailed to him at his residential or mail address or to the address appearing on his license or registration as appearing in registry of motor vehicles records. The provisions of the first sentence of this paragraph shall not apply to any complaint or indictment charging a violation of section twenty-four, twenty-four G or twenty-four L of chapter ninety, providing such complaint or indictment relates to a violation of automobile law which resulted in one or more deaths.

At or before the completion of his tour of duty, a police officer to whom a citation book has been issued and who has recorded the occurrence of an automobile law violation upon a citation shall deliver to his police chief or to the person duly authorized by said chief all remaining copies of such citation, duly signed, except the police officer’s copy which shall be retained by him. If the police officer has directed that a written warning be issued, the part of the citation designated as the registry of motor vehicles record shall be forwarded forthwith by the police chief or person authorized by him to the registrar and shall be kept by the registrar in his main office.

If the police officer has not directed that a written warning be issued and has not arrested the violator, the police chief or a person duly authorized by him shall retain the police department copy of each citation, and not later than the end of the sixth business day after the date of the violation:

(a) in the case of citations alleging only one or more civil motor vehicle infractions, shall cause all remaining copies of such citations to be mailed or delivered to the registrar; or

(b) in the case of citations alleging one or more criminal automobile law violations, shall cause all remaining copies of such citations to be delivered to the clerk-magistrate of the district court for the judicial district where the violation occurred. Failure to comply with the provisions of this paragraph shall not constitute a defense to any complaint or indictment charging a violation of section twenty-four, twenty-four G or twenty-four L of chapter ninety if such violation resulted in one or more deaths. Each clerk-magistrate shall maintain a record in the form prescribed by the chief justice of the district court department of such citations and shall notify the registrar of the disposition of such citations in accordance with the provisions of section twenty-seven of said chapter ninety.

If a citation is spoiled, mutilated or voided, it shall be endorsed with a full explanation thereof by the police officer voiding such citation, and shall be returned to the registrar forthwith and shall be duly accounted for upon the audit sheet for the citation book from which said citation was removed.

Error