First up for police commission: Certifying all current officers

The first “major assignment” for the state’s new policing accountability commission is certifying current law enforcement officials before the end of the calendar year, Gov. Baker said on Monday.

“The commission itself was appointed about two weeks ago. We’re going to file funding for it. We’ll figure out a way to help them operate in the meantime,” Baker said in response to a question about when the commission will start accepting or processing cases.

“But their first major assignment is to certify the existing law enforcement community in Massachusetts by the end of the calendar year.”

Baker swore in the nine members of the Massachusetts Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) two weeks ago. At the time, Chair Margaret Hinkle said the commission needs to hire an executive director, general counsel, craft a public database of decertified officers, and determine a budget.

Hinkle said the commission will “work as quickly as possible, with the assistance of the staff” on the deadlines and tasks set out in state law.

Asked about transparency around discharging certain state troopers, Baker said his administration wanted to create a POST Commission that “could serve as kind of the state clearinghouse and arbiter for decisions about internal affairs investigations, complaints, certifications standards, and all the rest.

“One of the major issues we were trying to address there was if somebody was removed from a police department, dishonorably discharged or for some other negative reason, we wanted to make sure that the POST Commission was in a position to inform any other law enforcement agencies that might be interested in talking to that person what the situation and the circumstances were,” the governor said.