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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT RELATIVE TO PROTECTIVE CUSTODY

      Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide for protective custody, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.     

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  Chapter 111E of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 9 the following section:-
     Section 9A.  For purposes of this section, “incapacitated” shall mean the condition of a person who, by reason of the consumption of a controlled substance or toxic vapor or other substance other than alcohol is: (i) unconscious; (ii) in need of medical attention; (iii) likely to suffer or cause physical harm or damage property; or (iv) disorderly.
     Any person who is incapacitated may be placed into protective custody by a police officer without the person’s consent for the purpose of immediately transporting the person to an acute care hospital or satellite emergency facility as defined in section 51½ of chapter 111 or otherwise immediately obtaining appropriate emergency medical treatment.  For the purposes of this section, to determine whether or not a person is incapacitated, a police officer may request the person to submit to reasonable tests of coordination, coherency of speech and breath.  A police officer may place the person into protective custody when such tests or other information or observations indicate that the person is incapacitated. Whenever a police officer places into protective custody a person under the age of 18 in accordance with this section, the police officer shall notify the parent or guardian of that person forthwith.
     A person may not be held in protective custody against the person’s will beyond the time required to complete the person’s immediate transport to an acute care hospital or satellite emergency facility as defined in section 51½ of chapter 111, or to otherwise immediately obtain appropriate emergency medical treatment. 
     A police officer acting in accordance with this section may use such force as is reasonably necessary to carry out the officer’s authorized responsibilities.  If the police officer reasonably believes that there may be a risk to the safety of the incapacitated person, the safety of the officer or the safety of other persons present, the police officer may search the person and the immediate surroundings of the person placed into protective custody but only to the extent necessary to discover and seize any items or weapons which may pose a danger.  Any item taken shall be inventoried and, unless the item is contraband or otherwise unlawfully possessed, shall be returned to the person when the person is no longer incapacitated.
     A person placed under protective custody in accordance with this section shall not be considered to have been arrested or to have been charged with any crime.  An entry of custody shall be made indicating the date, time, place of custody, the name of the assisting officer and the name of the officer in charge.  No such entry shall be treated as an arrest or criminal record for any purpose.
     SECTION 2.   This act shall take effect as of July 1, 2016.

Approved, July 22, 2016.