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Police allege new training commission violated open meeting laws

The new state agency charged with licensing police and holding them accountable has repeatedly violated the state's open meeting law, according a complaint filed Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court.

The allegations are outlined by three plaintiffs in a complaint against the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, or POST Commission. The Massachusetts Coalition of Police, Boston Police Superior Officers Federation, and the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society announced the legal action.

The plaintiffs want a court order making null and void "all actions taken based on work product, advice, or recommendations" of commission subcommittees generated in violation of the Open Meeting Law.

The commission pushed back against the allegations.

"The POST Commission strongly believes that it has complied at all times with the Open Meeting law, and is reviewing the complaint filed today," POST Commission Executive Director Enrique Zuniga said.

In a press release, the police groups said that while enhanced transparency was a goal of the law creating the commission, the new panel, in large part through the work of subcommittees, "has repeatedly violated the principles of the very law under which it was created; while violating the letter of the law governing open meetings, transparency in government, and accountability of government bodies to the public."

"These illegal subcommittee meetings produced a broad range of policy materials and other work product that was rubber stamped into formal policy by the POST Commission – with zero input from members of the law enforcement profession, and no scrutiny from the public," the police groups said. "This work product includes - among other things - a series of highly invasive, improper, unfair, and irrational questionnaires to be administered to both new and existing law enforcement officers."

The plaintiffs are Scott Hovsepian, a patrolman with the Waltham Police Department and president of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (MassCOP); Jeanne Carroll, a sergeant with the Boston Police Department and president of the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation; and Donald Caisey, a detective with the Boston Police Department and president of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society.

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