Massachusetts bill s2800 is troubling in so many ways. In essence, it will make an already difficult job even more dangerous for the men and women in law enforcement who serve our communities every day with honor and courage.
The following are the most dangerous sections of the bill:
In Section 55, this bill authorizes "any person" to "intervene" if they believe an officer's use of force is excessive. C’mon, how many times have we seen a YouTube video that looks bad, but was totally within compliance with state law and department policy? Now you’ll have a group of anti-police renegades attacking cops because they “believe” their force was excessive. This language will be exploited to attack cops and later used as a defense by anyone charged with resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer. This language will result in more cops being hurt and killed.
In Section 6, this bill the POSAC Committee is granted broad powers, including the power of subpoena during active criminal investigations. The language sets the groundwork for unconstitutional violations of a police officer's 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination (see Carney vs Springfield). It also violates several constitutional protections against "double-jeopardy".
In Section 10, qualified immunity protections are removed and replaced with a "no reasonable defendant" qualifier. This removes important liability protections essential for the police officers who patrol communities and often deal with some of the most dangerous of circumstances with little or no back-up. By removing qualified immunity protections, officers become vulnerable to personal liabilities just by preforming their duties. A kidnapping suspect doesn't like the way he was arrested? He doesn't like the way he was subdued by an officer after he fled? The fact that the officer behaved within policy, and by following Massachusetts law will not protect her if this bill passes. As I’ve written previously, qualified police recruits are already in limited supply. Adding this section will discourage good applicants from becoming interested in becoming cops.
Final note: this bill is being forced through the process without the normal and appropriate legislative process. Holding public hearings to accept testimony from citizens, and having a thoughtful debate is the right way to make legislation. The mob justification for speed tracking this bill is because of the "exigency of the matter". However, this debate was only sparked after a rogue criminal cop violated his oath 2000 miles away from the closest Massachusetts border.
It is inconceivable that Massachusetts congress would attempt this "sleight of hand" trick to rush a major change and done behind a smoke-screen of hurried "exigency".
As I speak to my police colleagues across the country I notice a common theme of frustration and contempt for a job they once loved. To them, it seems both citizens and politicians are out to get them. Take for example, a legislative bill in Virginia that changes assaulting a cop from a felony to a marginal misdemeanor. If that's not a green light to assault cops I don’t know what is. Or how about a proposed New York law forcing cops to carry their own liability insurance? This law protects cities and towns from expensive litigation. How irresponsible is that? Local communities are no longer responsible for defending cops after their politicians implemented laws and forced cops to enforce them. The irony is palpable. Many proponents make the mistake of comparing this insurance requirement to doctors and malpractice suits. Nothing could be more different. If that becomes the standard, however cops should be able to decide what calls they respond to or what subjects to engage. Sorry, we don’t have that luxury.
Needless to say, cops are reassessing their occupational situation. So, I thought I’d assist my brothers and sisters in blue in beginning their job search. Let's start with the obvious: private security and investigations. I became licensed as a private investigator in 2012 as a long-term side hustle. With the advent of online data companies available to the public, the PI profession has changed dramatically. However, there will always be a market for private citizens who need information. The need for private security, on the other hand, will explode in the upcoming years. As police departments become decimated by defunding policies, as well as the lack of recruits interested in law enforcement, private security demands will sky rocket. The only problem with making the change to the private sector is the pay. The maximum salary for either job is between $21-25 dollars an hour. The other obvious issue would be paying into social security and crossing your fingers they’ll be any left when you retire. On the plus side, private companies have good health and time off benefits.
I strongly believe, however, most cops who are getting out want to steer clear from anything resembling law enforcement. This is completely understandable. So, let's look at some other options. FranchiseGator.com is loaded with successful businesses that have been perfected to where the only variable is the franchise owner. Decide what your interests are. What could you see yourself doing professionally? A friend of mine bought a franchise two years ago that now employs two dozen people and grosses seven figures in revenue. Cleaning businesses like Men in Kilts or Pool Scouts market their business to specific clientele with a minimal investment of $100k.
If running a business is not your thing how about working for an ever growing company like Home Depot. According to their website (careers.homedepot.com) they have 144 positions available within 15 miles of my hometown. For example, they’re looking for an assistant manager at their Boston store, an asset protection specialist in Avon and a repair and tool technician in Norwood. All these jobs come with medical benefits, disability insurance, 401k retirement and even profit sharing plans. What’s more, the customers and company management don’t hate you! (I know that’s hard for cops to comprehend).
As cops we tend to get stuck in one-way thinking: right vs. wrong, legal vs. illegal, without looking at the big picture. We need to look beyond the flashing blue lights and the snazzy uniforms for a second and ponder life outside the blue line. How would it feel to not be viewed as the enemy? How would it feel to not pay for the sins of a cop in another city or state? How would it feel to not be marginalized and dehumanized by people who wouldn’t even be qualified to be cops? Sounds better every day.
So put your resume together and create a login to indeed.com...you’ll thank me later.
Blog posts are written by Rob Disario and include opinion editorials about policing and private investigations. Other topics include tips and tricks to protect yourself, thoughts for today, new products and product reviews. Rob's opinions are his own which are protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and do not reflect any other entity, affiliation or person.