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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Mr. ######,

I am writing in response to your recent correspondence directed to Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey regarding campus police officers’ authority to issue civil motor vehicle infractions. As this matter involves a law enforcement issue, it was referred to the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPS) for response. Although the issue of whether campus police officers should or should not be authorized to issue citations may be worthy of debate, the assumptions and conclusions regarding campus police authority contained in the Patriot Ledger article cited in your correspondence are incorrect as a matter of law. As further set forth below, the only way for campus police officers to obtain the lawful authority to issue civil motor vehicle infractions is through amendment to the General Laws.

With very specific exceptions, as subsequently explained further, campus police officers do not have the statutory authority to issue civil motor vehicle citations. In order to have the ability to issue civil motor vehicle citations a law enforcement officer must be a “police officer” as defined in G.L. c.90C, § 1. Campus police officers licensed as special state police officers do not meet the statutory definition contained in G.L. 90C, § 1. To the extent that the authority of campus police officers to issue civil motor vehicle infractions was ever open to interpretation, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ended the debate in 1996, specifically stating that state college campus police officers do not possess the statutory authority to make motor vehicle stops under chapter 90 or issue citations. See Commonwealth v. Mullen, 40 Mass App. 404 (1996) (campus police officers are not empowered under G.L. c. 90C, § 2 to stop motorists for automobile violations on pubic ways within their jurisdiction). This practice was ended as a matter of statutory interpretation by the Appeals Court, not through an EOPS or Registry “policy” change as professed by many campus police officials.

Campus police officers are authorized under G.L. c. 73, § 18 to enforce campus parking and driving regulations. Absent inclusion in the definition of police officer in Chapter 90C, however, such authority does not include the ability to issue citations for state driving violations. Where the Legislature has intended certain campus police officers to have Chapter 90 powers, they have added specific classes of officers to the definition of Chapter 90C, including University of Massachusetts police officers and officers at Southeaster Massachusetts University (renamed University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth). See G.L. c. 90C § 1. Significantly, University of Massachusetts police officers have identical (verbatim) powers to enforce campus parking and driving under G.L. c. 75, § 32A as other state college campus police officers under G.L. c. 73 § 18 but their ability to issue state civil motor vehicle citations is derived solely from their inclusion in the definition of “police officer” in Chapter 90C. Had the definition of police officer containing in G.L. c. 90C § 1 intended to include all campus police officers, the specifically named departments contained n the definition would be unnecessary and redundant. Mullen, 40 Mass. App. 409.

The lack of the power to issue civil motor vehicle citations does not necessarily diminish campus police officer’ overall ability to ensure the safety of college and university campuses. In fact, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently reinforced the authority of campus police officers’ power of arrest and ability to stop and detain a suspect in a car based upon reasonable suspicion. Commonwealth v. Saint Louis, 59 Mass. App. 928 (2003). In Saint Louis, a member of the Bridgewater State College campus police pulled a vehicle over based upon a reasonable suspicion that the underage occupants of the car were in possession of alcohol, a criminal offense for which a campus police officer licensed as a special state police officer may make an arrest. Id at 929. The officer involved in Saint Louis, did not justify his stop of the car or threshold inquiry on a motor vehicle violation. (unlike the traffic stop in the Mullen case cited above). The officer, however, was able to stop the vehicle, make a threshold inquiry and probable cause arrest under his special state police powers. Upon a subsequent search incident to arrest, the officer recovered two firearms in the vehicle. Id. The Bridgewater State College campus police’s ability to make a threshold inquiry of the occupants of a vehicle based upon reasonable suspicion that a crime had occurred was not diminished by the officer’s inability to issue civil motor vehicle infractions. Furthermore, in cases where a citation may be necessary to prosecute a crime, nothing would prevent a campus police department from seeking the assistance of their respective communities’ municipal police department to respond to the scene. It is my understanding that this is an effective practice at some colleges and universities.

With the authority to issue civil motor vehicle infractions come the necessary training, skills and responsibility to carry out such a function safely and consistent with the law. The issue over whether campus police officer should have the authority to pull drivers over on public ways for motor vehicle infractions is more complex than placing citation books in the hands of campus police officers. All traffic enforcement requires specific training associated with pursing and stopping vehicles, officer safety as well as the myriad of law associated with pursuing and stopping vehicle stops and searches. The Department of State Police alone have 19 separate, written policies and procedures pertaining to traffic enforcement ranging from citations to inventory searches to the prevention of racial and gender profiling and receive weeks of traffic enforcement training. In addition to tactics, safety and the law, traffic stops also involve an area of police authority that involves significant discretion. Some suggest that the complexity and breadth of motor vehicle laws make it possible for any motorist to be stopped by a police officer at any time for a type of traffic violation if observed long enough. With such power and discretion comes incredible responsibility, which, without written policies and procedures or adequate supervision and proper training, can be abused. Before seeking the authority for traffic enforcement, campus police officers and college administrators must carefully weigh their resources and capacity to take on these duties.

Based upon the quotes in the Patriot Ledger article, it appears that many campus police departments believe that possession of Commonwealth civil motor vehicle citation books serves as de facto authority to issue state traffic citations. As set forth above, without specific statutory amendment to Chapter 90C authorizing campus police officers to issue civil motor vehicle citations, and ticket written for a state law traffic violations is invalid and subject to dismissal by the court. Regardless of whether citation books were issued in error by the Commonwealth or were obtained by campus police departments through other means, campus police officers, just like all law enforcement officers, have the basic duty to uphold and follow current law which expressly disallows the issuance of civil motor vehicle infractions by campus police officers unless otherwise authorized by statue.

Campus police officers provide an essential law enforcement function on college and university campuses across the Commonwealth. Whether or not campus police duties and responsibilities should include enforcement of the Commonwealth’s traffic laws is a complex public safety policy issue. Before campus police officers or their supporters recommend a change in the law, this issue should be carefully studied and input sought from college and university administrators, the Board of Higher Education, local chiefs of police or the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Registrar as well as the licensing authority for college and university police officers, the Massachusetts State Police.

Thank you for taking the time to write on this issue.


hSincerely,

Jed M. Nosal
Deputy General Counsel
(617) 727-7775
 

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Mullen is a bizzare decision to say the least. (See bellow)

However, c. 90C, § 1, as amended through St.1991, c. 412, § 64, defines "police officer" narrowly to include "any officer ... authorized to make arrest or serve criminal process, any person appointed by the registrar under section twenty-nine of chapter ninety, any person appointed by the trustees of the University of Massachusetts under section thirty-two A of chapter seventy-five, any person appointed by the trustees of Southeastern Massachusetts university under section seventeen of chapter seventy-five B and any person appointed by the colonel of state police under section fifty-nine of chapter twenty-two C."
[2] While virtually all special State police officers are empowered by c. 22C, §§ 56 through 68, to "make arrest" and/or "serve criminal process," we do not read c. 90, § 1, to encompass all such special State police officers within the definition of "police officer." Were this so, it would have been redundant and unnecessary for c. 90, § 1, expressly to include within the definition of "police officer" only those special State police officers appointed under c. 22C, § 59. Accordingly, we conclude that campus police officers, unlike those employed by the Departments of Mental Health or Mental Retardation under c. 226, § 59, are not empowered under c. 90C, § 2, to stop motorists for automobile law violations on public ways **858 within their jurisdiction. [FN17]

The ability for local police officers to issue citations has never been questioned. Why? Because they are authorized to "make arrests and serve criminal process" - just like Campus Police Officers. Basially the Mullen Court is trying to reason that by enumerating DMH / DMR police in the definition and not including others, the legislature never intended for CPOs to have the authority to issue cites - even though they can "make arrests and serve criminal process." Hopefully the pending legistlation will put an end to this controversy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The letter was written to another member of my department. I just typed it all out to share with everyone.

I do not know how everyone else feels but I for one think that this letter is derogatory toward campus police departments. Calling our training into question is irresponsible. Telling Police Officers to call the municipal police for a cite and to take over your call. Telling campus pd's that still issue cites they are breaking the law....who's side are these people on?

#11
 

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I could be mistaken but I think the author of that letter is incorrect of the Saint Louis case. I do not believe that stop was made under the blanket of special state police powers. :NO:
 

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Well, the good news about this letter is that we have learned, first hand, that Jed M. Nosal, Deputy General Counsel, is a complete f*@king jackass. I hope he is a good driver. :evil: :twisted:

Come on...can you really be that out of touch with reality???????? :?: :?:
 

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This dink is way off base. If you look at the letter his references come from the ones from the criminal books regarding Mullins, no original thoughts in there,copy and paste loser. I don't know how he interprets this the way he does but MCLEA should write a rebuttal letter and straighten his ass out. I love the last part, the College should talk to Mass Chiefs Assoc and RMV and everyone else but please don't change the law and make us give you books. It's all about control, pretty sad that public safety sufferes at the whim of a few losers. :DP:
 

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Apparently Mr. Nosal feels every Campus Police Officer in Massachusetts is a complete untrained boob. Campus Police Officers can't handle "The myriad of law associated with motor vehicle stops and searches" and "with the authority to issue civil motor vehicle infractions comes the necessary training, skills, and responsibility to carry out such a function safely and consistent with the law." Those statements alone show how ignorant and out of touch Mr. Nosal is in regards to public safety issues on campuses across Massachusetts.

It's a sad fact that the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Deputy General Counsel does not understand the training requirements associated with the 16 week SSPO Academy. Let's not bring up the fact that our department does 40 hours of in-service training annually with the local municipal police he wants us to call every time we observe a vehicle speeding through campus. "With such power and discretion comes incredible responsibility, which without written policies and procedures or adequate supervision and proper training, can be abused." Nosal is a JOKE and every campus officer should be deeply offended by his uneducated statements.
 

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I went to MPOC and worked as a campus officer for a state college and private college and I am offended that a boob such as this fool still sees campus police officers as just an old guy with a set of keys and a detex clock. I think I will send him a letter and advise him of the changes that campus police departments have gone through in the last 15 years. :evil:
 

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SSPO#11";p="59442 said:
Dear Mr. ######,

Before campus police officers or their supporters recommend a change in the law, this issue should be carefully studied and input sought from college and university administrators, the Board of Higher Education, local chiefs of police or the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Registrar as well as the licensing authority for college and university police officers, the Massachusetts State Police.

How inefficient!! To put this into perspective....................

Would each municipality seek input from their board of Selectmen, School Committee, other local chiefs, and the RMV as to whether or not their own police should be empowered to enforce CMVI????
:shock:
This guy relies on his own lone interpretation of a garbage case law and the narrowly focused "definition" section of CH90C s.1, because EOPS is afraid of the Legislature now considering amending said MGL (House Docket#230) to clarify for the RMV and EOPS that they are acting like children embroiled in a turf war over issuing tickets.
:x
Oh by the way Mr. esteemed counsel..................MGL CH.15A s.22 states
"pursuant to the enforcement of traffic rules and regulations (sic) shall have the powers of police officers" It's not "driving" as you put it, but nice try at being condescending sir.

and don't forget.....................
MGL CH.73 s.18 "all fines and penalties shall be accounted for by the clerk of the court" Sounds to me that this is the same Massachusetts court that processes our CMVI's and forwards findings to the RMV.
Tread carefully counselor, you shouldn't circumvent the Massachusetts Legislature, Massachusetts Trial Court, Or the Registry of Motor Vehicles in an attempt to be territorial and condescending against an entire class of law enforcement professionals. Have a nice day sir.
:lol:
 

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50 dollars to the first state /community college that can sucessfully invite this individual to their campus for a little re-education... with a CMVI
 

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I'm not a Campus Police Officer, but I am definitely in your corner! This guy is your typical Liberal Desk Jokey who knows nothing about Law Enforcement, and whats worse is these guys are usually in charge! Good luck guys. Someone needs to educate this guy on the training you get and let him know this is 2005 not 1955. :roll:

Stay Safe.
 

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I am not a campus police officer, let me start out by saying that.

I find that letter disgusting, and if I were workign at a campus, I would be offended and angered.

"With the authority to issue civil motor vehicle infractions comes the necessary training, skills, and responsibility to carry out such a function safely and consistent with the law" Really? So part-timers who have a R/I Academy can enforce Ch.90 with only a 120 hour academy under thier belt, but Campus Police Officers, who have either a 16 week SSPO academy or a 22 week MPOC can't hack it? This is infuriating.

"With such power and discretion comes incredible responsibility, which without written policies and procedures or adequate supervision and proper training, can be abused." WTF. So he's saything that campus police a. lack the policies and procedures, b. lack adequate supervision, c. lack proper training and d. would abuse the power to issue CMVI? Thats horsesh**! Oh, well, we must all keep in mind how issuing a CMVI is a power and discression with incredible responsibility, so much so that a campus cop can't handle it, but then forget that the campus cops have the even more awesome power of arrest? Give me a break. Hey you can arrest someone for any crime occuring in your jurisdiction, but hey, you can't be trusted to write a traffic ticket? Give me a freaking break! :evil:
 

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This dude is a boob. And since he is responding for the Lt. Governor's office, we all know where Miss Congeniality stands. I hope we all have learned a valuable lesson about what our leadership truly believes. Let us remember this when they come to the MPA and the unions looking for our support. I just hope I see the General Council jerk around town.

:BM:
 

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Wow I never thought filing one bill would get such a response from Mr. Nosal. The big question is gonna be when the bill comes up for hearing is EOP gonna try and kill the bill. I guess I can thank Mr. Nosal for giving his argument for the case away. Any state college PO's out there I will give you a heads up when Senate 230 comes up for hearing so we can all show up and give our side of the issue.
 

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"The canons of statutory construction are like greeting cards--there seems to be one for every occasion." A.C. Cruise Line, Inc. v. Alcoholic Beverages Control Comm'n, 29 Mass.App.Ct. 319, 324, 560 N.E.2d 145, rev. denied, 408 Mass. 1105, 563 N.E.2d 692 (1990). (They are used to interpret statutes.)

"[A] statute must be interpreted according to the intent of the Legislature ascertained from all its words construed by the ordinary and approved usage of the language, considered in connection with the cause of its enactment, the mischief or imperfection to be remedied and the main object to be accomplished, to the end that the purpose of its framers may be effectuated." Registrar of Motor Vehicles v. Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liab. Policies & Bonds, 382 Mass. 580, 585, 416 N.E.2d 1373 (1981), quoting from Board of Educ. v. Assessor of Worcester, 368 Mass. 511, 513, 333 N.E.2d 450 (1975). Furthermore, "[t]he statutory language itself is the principal source of insight into the legislative purpose." Registrar of Motor Vehicles v. Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liab. Policies & Bonds, supra at 585, 416 N.E.2d 1373, citing Hoffman v. Howmedica, Inc., 373 Mass. 32, 37, 364 N.E.2d 1215 (1977). Here a literal reading of the statutory language says CPOs are 'police officers' under 90C § 1.

"Police officer'', any officer, other than an investigator or examiner of the transportation division of the department of telecommunications and energy, authorized to make arrest or serve criminal process, any person appointed by the registrar under section twenty-nine of chapter ninety, any person appointed by the trustees of the University of Massachusetts under section thirty-two A of chapter seventy-five, any person appointed by the trustees of Southeastern Massachusetts university under section seventeen of chapter seventy-five B and any person appointed by the colonel of state police under section fifty-nine of chapter twenty-two C.

-ANY- officer means -ANY- officer (authorized to make arrests or serve criminal process).

The Mullen court essentially says that if the legislature wanted CPOs to have citation authority, it would have specifically listed them in the statute (like the U-Mass Police). However, the same logic works the other way. If the legislature wanted CPOs to not have the authority, it would have specifically excluded them (like the investigators or examiners of the transportation division of the department of telecommunications and energy.)

Additionally, this Court "is obliged to give ambiguous, imprecise, or faultily drafted statutes a 'reasonable construction,' with the primary goal of construing the statute to carry out the legislative intent.... Our objective is to confer upon the statute as a whole an internal consistency."

The purpose of G.L. c. 90C is to create a uniform, simplified and non-criminal method for disposing of automobile law violations. Therefore, since CPOs have the power to address automobile law violations under G.L. c. 73 § 18 (a statute never mentioned in Mullen)…why wouldn't they have the power to do so in a -uniform- way? See Commonwealth v. Russ R., 433 Mass. 515, 520, 744 N.E.2d 39 (2001) ("Legislature is presumed to be aware of existing statutes when it ... enacts a new one").

Mullen should have been appealed to the SJC.

Also, G.L. c. 73 Sec. 18 provides as follows....The trustees may appoint as police officers persons in the employ of such college who in the enforcement of said rules and regulations and throughout the property of such college shall have the powers of police officers, except as to service of civil process.

If one of the powers of a police officer is the power to issue a cite, wouldn't those appointed under 73-18 have that power by virtue of the above-cited language? Note - it doesn't say powers to make arrests...but "powers of police officers..."

On a side note....I'm amazed at all the controversy surrounding simple CMVIs. Why is everyone so concerned about who can write tickets? You can arrest someone, use reasonable force to effect the arrest, and use deadly force to defend yourself or another....but you can't write a ticket for a burnt out license plate light? (90-6, btw) or failure to stop for a stop sign?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Excellent post MCLEA.

I have applied to Campus Police Departments in other states and took an informal poll of what departments cannot write tickets. Every single department has the same authority as municipal POLICE OFFICERS which includes citations. There is no separate statute giving one department cites and another one no cites but arrest powers.

If you are a police officer then you should be a police officer. Massachusetts needs to make up their mind. Do you want us to be cops or security guards?

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was thinking about writing a response letter.....but I think it will be a waste of time. Telling this guy that we are Police Officers and we study the same cases every year during in service (Mullen) will get State College CPO's no where.

It is obvious what these people think about us....maybe they should ride along for a night or week.


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I would think at this point it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. It would appear that all concerned (for and against) are aware of the pending legislation (3 bills). I would say let it run its course and hopefully it will go through, rather than bringing continued attention to it. Yes our cites are still being processed without problem, but a phone call from EOPS may hamper the process and bring unwanted attention. I'd say let us watch and wait, there is apparently some positive note if we have three bills filed. :roll: :sb:
 

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I'm in the Campus PO's corner on this. Nosal is a BOOB! MCLEA and/or MPA should be all over this one! A Police Officer is a Police Officer. The only real difference is you are either a PO for a Town or a PO for the College (which is a town in itself), other than that the duties and powers are the same. There needs to be legislative push to word the MGL to specifically empower CPO's as "Police Officers".
 
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