Officials announce plan to track state police cruisers

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BOSTON — More than a thousand state police cruisers will be tracked through a GPS system, allowing the force's top brass to keep an eye on them, officials announced on Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin updated proposed state police reforms following scandals including overtime abuse by state police. Changes include the dismantling of Troop E, which patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike, and studies on Turnpike barracks.

Baker said 1,087 police cruisers will be tracked by the end of the day using a GPS system so commanders can deploy personnel to emergencies.

An audit ordered by Gilpin showed discrepancies between hours worked and payment for other Turnpike traffic enforcement patrols. Overtime is now availability to 786 troopers, instead of only 136 officers who were part of the disbanded troop. A new face-to-face roll call policy also is being implemented to monitor who is on shift.

An internal audit in March revealed that nearly 30 current and former troopers assigned to Troop E may have been paid overtime for shifts they did not work in 2016. In another scandal, a payroll director was charged in April with larceny for allegedly stealing more than $23,000 from the agency.

Other changes include an update to a recruitment questionnaire asking candidates if they have been involved with criminal investigations, even if they were not charged.

On April 2, the Baker administration and state police outlined specific tasks to be accomplished in a month's time.

Baker called the reforms an effort to "restore the public's trust" in the department.

State police also began posting members' troop assignments to the state's website, and will be adding payroll records for all troops to the state comptroller's website in an effort to increase transparency.


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