BOSTON — Violently Injured Police Officers Organization Co-Founders Mario Oliveira and Bob DiNapoli wish to provide the following statement regarding the proposed police reform bill in Massachusetts.
“Policing in Massachusetts is not perfect, and there are no doubt areas where the criminal justice system needs to improve. However, the proposed reform bill currently working its way through Beacon Hill is being rushed into law despite being poorly thought out and dangerous in many ways.
“We are police officers who have been shot multiple times and left to die in defense of our communities. Our lives were ultimately saved but our careers were ended by armed felons. Our permanent physical and emotional scars are a daily reminder of the risks police officers face when they go to work to protect the communities they serve. Far too many of our brothers and sisters have fared worse and lost their lives in policing and in corrections.
“In its current form, this bill will make communities — and police officers — less safe. It can also resort of police officers hesitating when fractions of a second can mean life or death for themselves or for innocent civilians.
“This bill has its merits, as increased police training is a universally good thing for officers and civilians alike. Police oversight is also an important element of this legislation that’s worth making a reality, but a law enforcement oversight committee without active representation of the law enforcement community is meaningless and potentially dangerous for our communities.
“The way George Floyd lost his life at the hands of a police officer was particularly disturbing, and the officers involved in his death should be held accountable for their actions. That doesn’t mean that the entire law enforcement profession should be subject to hasty reform efforts that discount the very real risks officers face on a daily basis.
“Police officers in Massachusetts are some of the most professional in the country, but we know that training alone does not eliminate the possibility that the injustice like the one Floyd faced could happen here. However, this bill is far too reactionary and not nearly proactive enough.
“As permanently injured police officers who bear the consequences of the dangers of this job, we urge the legislature and Governor Baker to be more thoughtful in crafting police reform and mindful of the need for law enforcement to have a voice in that process.”