The state’s police disciplinary records database is now public; here’s how to access it

Crime

The database includes disciplinary records from thousands of officers and hundreds of agencies.

A stock photo of flashing blue and red lights on top of a police cruiser.
A database of police disciplinary reports was released Tuesday by Massachusetts’ police oversight board. Adobe Stock

The state’s police accountability board made a database publicly available on Tuesday that includes thousands of disciplinary records from law enforcement agencies.

Part of the three-year-old board’s efforts to make law enforcement more transparent, the database includes 3,413 records of 2,165 officers from 273 law enforcement agencies, according to a press release from the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. 

The POST commission was established in 2020, and a spokesperson said creating a database has been a major priority for the board ever since.

“We know that releasing this information furthers police accountability and is a matter of great public interest,” Enrique Zuniga, POST’s executive director, said in the statement to the Boston Globe.

Active law enforcement officers with allegations against them or disciplinary records, as well as officers who retired or resigned to avoid disciplinary action, are named in the database. 

It does not include officers who left their agency in good standing, or unfounded or non-sustained complaints. 

The new database also does not include 167 law enforcement agencies that a POST spokesperson said the commission verified as having no reportable complaints. The spokesperson said many of those agencies were small, “with few officers.”

How to use the database

Users are given two options: They can search by last name of the officer or by department, both documents in alphabetical order. Some agencies have multiple officers listed, and some officers have multiple reportable complaints against them. 

Some of the state’s biggest law enforcement agencies had the most complaints, including Mass. State Police with 493, Springfield Police with 417, and Boston Police with 373, according to the Globe.

The following acts of misconduct are listed as the commission’s reporting requirements: 

  • Reports alleging bias on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Complaints regarding use of excessive, prohibited or deadly force
  • Actions that resulted in serious bodily injury or death, including officer-involved shootings
  • Misrepresenting or falsifying reports or evidence
  • Criminal misconduct 
  • Other misconduct, which could include unprofessionalism, policy violations, conduct unbecoming or nonconformance to rules

The database includes records dated as early as December 1984 and as recent as Jan. 31, 2023. A POST commission spokesperson said the board will regularly update the database, but did not give more information on the process for doing so. You can find the database and other information about reporting processes in the POST section of the state’s website.


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