BOSTON – As Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, and as a former law enforcement officer, Senator Michael O, Moore (D-Millbury) took the lead to advance several budget amendments during the Fiscal Year 2019 budget debate in the Senate.
Senator Moore advanced an amendment that would ensure the confidentiality of peer support services for first responders. In particular, the amendment seeks to protect the confidentiality of personnel seeking help with managing stress caused by situations that arise in the workplace. Securing confidentiality will ensure first responders feel comfortable coming forward and do not feel stigmatized for receiving help.
In light of recent issues involving the Department of State Police, Senator Moore also led an amendment to require the Department to participate in an accreditation program at either the state or national level. The accreditation process will help to ensure that the Department institutes best practice regarding training, discipline, use of force standards, and emergency response planning, communication, and traffic operations. Another Moore-sponsored amendment requires the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to report on a course of action for updating the State Police radio communication system which remains outdated.
A further $60K was also secured by a Moore-sponsored amendment to support a joint proposal for UMass Memorial Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to provide tactical EMS support to the Massachusetts State Police STOP Team. The State Police STOP Team is tasked with responding to any crisis across the state, including hostage situations, barricaded subjects, high risk warrant service and riot control.
In response to a recent report issued by State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Senator Moore offered an amendment to reform certain policies and procedures utilized by the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB).
Among its findings, the Auditor’s report highlighted SORB’s inability to adequately maintain the addresses of hundreds of convicted sex offenders, and its failure to classify over 900 sex offenders in the Commonwealth. Senator Moore serves as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security which possesses oversight authority over the SORB.
“The Auditor’s findings detail troubling deficiencies with current practices employed by the SORB that merit a legislative solution,” said Senator Moore. “The SORB is a critical piece of our public safety infrastructure, and there must be strict adherence to established policies to effectively protect residents of our Commonwealth.”
The Moore-sponsored amendment would broaden the reporting requirements when an offender is released from custody. Currently, the Board notifies the police department in the municipality where the offender is scheduled to live, which drastically limits how far this information is shared. Under the amendment, the Board would also notify the State Police.
Secondly, the amendment would also require the State Police to seek an arrest warrant for any offender who fails to complete their registration. While some municipalities do file arrest warrants when a local offender fails to register, there is currently no statewide mandate.
Finally, the amendment requires the Board to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Police to locate offenders who have either failed to complete registration requirements or avoided classification due to a lack of notification. Incorporating a designated law enforcement partner will allow the Board to more proactively pursue their mission of monitoring offenders, with a necessary focus on those who fail to comply with the reporting and notification system.
Differences between the Senate version of the State Budget, S.4, will now be resolved with a version of the budget passed by the House of Representatives last month. To continue tracking the state budget, please visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.