Unusual policy allows Massachusetts Environmental Police to interrupt shifts to work private details

Massachusetts Environmental PoliceFor a decade, the Massachusetts Environmental Police have operated under an unusual paid-detail policy that national law-enforcement experts warn could jeopardize officers’ commitment to public safety. The practice, known as splitting shifts, allows Environmental Police officers to interrupt their regularly scheduled duties to work a paid detail, provided that they return to work afterward and complete their required hours. It is virtually unheard of among police departments, but a similar policy was in place in New Orleans when the Department of Justice X-rayed that city’s Police Department in 2011. The federal agency found that the NOPD’s split-shift policy was a possible incentive for officers to prioritize extra money over public safety. “Just looking at it from a distance, it looks like it would complicate the ability to separate public work from private work, and that is a huge problem,” said Ed Davis, the former superintendent of the Lowell and Boston police departments. He and other law-enforcement experts questioned whether an Environmental Police officer would be as likely to make an arrest or take any police action if that action meant the officer wouldn’t be able to make it to a private paid detail on time. Read the story here 09:47

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