Police officers across the state of Massachusetts will likely be getting standardized police badges this year. A bill has been proposed to supply police departments with high-tech badging identification to reduce the occurrence of police officer impersonations. At the end of 2010, the bill was passed by the Senate, and would make Massachusetts the first state nationwide to adopt such a practice.
It’s unusual that there hasn’t been movement toward this initiative prior to now. It seems like a no-brainer to want to easily identify police officers from those posing as one. If this standardization was around when I was a teenage driver, I doubt my parents would have felt the need to tell me over and over again to “never open the window” to a police officer in an unmarked car, if by chance they would pull me over. Instead, I was instructed to say through the glass, “I’ll follow you to the nearest police station.”
Luckily I never had to resort to that unorthodox approach, as I was a stellar teenage driver. Yet the upcoming generations could surely get some mileage out of this new system. And that’s just one example in a myriad of uses of how standardized ID badges would improve civilian relations and strengthen cooperation.
Much like the Massachusetts-issued driver license, all police ID badges will be uniform, stating who may carry them, how long they are valid, when the must be renewed, and what to do with them when they are no longer required (i.e. retirement, expiration).
The new statewide badges (that will be used at the state and local levels, as well as for the Transportation Police) will certainly make it easier for us to know who we are dealing with. However, there needs to be sufficient communication to the public about this new program, so that we know what to be looking for. It’s all well and good for the new cards to be issued, but how is the public to know what the card should in fact look like?
We can only assume that because the state has been so forward-thinking and first-to-market in this program in the first place, Massachusetts will continue along these lines and make sure everyone is in the know about this extremely valuable initiative.
Hunter Systems Group provides public safety and security tools for police departments, governmental agencies, educational institutions and companies worldwide. Our products include smart ID badging cameras, mug shot capture systems, fingerprint and facial recognition, and other biometric applications.