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All state troopers given body cameras after overtime scandal

December 16, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts State Police announced Thursday that all of its troopers have been assigned body cameras, a reform that was ordered in 2018 after the agency was rocked by an overtime scandal.

All 2,200 of the agency’s sworn personnel now have body cameras and training on how to use them, police officials said. The agency has also installed cameras in 800 cruisers, with 200 still awaiting cameras.

Col. Christopher Mason, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, said the cameras will document troopers’ interaction with suspects, victims and the public.

“This is essential to capturing evidence for criminal cases as well as memorializing the nature of interactions between Troopers and the public,” Mason said in a statement. “Body camera video also provides a valuable training tool for recruits and existing officers.”

The cameras were part of a series of reforms announced in 2018 by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and police leaders. The reforms also included disbanding Troop E, which patrolled a stretch of the Massachusetts Turnpike from Boston to the New York state border.

The changes were ordered after some troopers assigned to Troop E were found to have taken thousands of hours in overtime pay for shifts they did not actually work.

Dozens of troopers were fired or disciplined over the overtime scandal, and some have faced criminal charges.