|Submitted||Sept. 1, 2016|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, M.G.L. c.66, §10, I hereby request the following records:
• Any lists, databases, and inventory rosters containing weapons used by officers (i.e., firearms, tasers, batons, etc.).
If no such records exist than I request the alternative records:
• All records pertaining to the weapons that may be carried by officers as determined by the chief of police, or the board, or officer having control of the police under the authority granted in M.G.L. ch.41, §98
• All records pertaining to the most recent audit of firearms owned by the department
There is an active public debate on the utility of firearms to provide safety and protection. This debate involves elected officials such as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh who is on record stating there is no need for Boston police officers to have long guns. A list of weapons that are currently owned, duly authorized, and safely stored by the state police is of great interest to the public in providing greater context for this public discourse.
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.
I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.
In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 calendar days, as the statute requires.
I would refer you to the City of Worcester Police Department Website. An entire list of all policies and procedures is listed on this site. Specifically regarding your request, I would refer you to the Use of Force Policy 400 which includes information related to weapons that officers are authorized to carry
Thank you for the quick response. I appreciate your attention to this request.
I have reviewed your suggested document and I reiterate my request for records that detail what handgun is issued and what special weapons are authorized, or at least are commonly issued. The qualities of interest for these firearms are the caliber and magazine size.
After reviewing http://www.worcesterma.gov/wpd-policy-manual/operations/use-of-force.pdf it lists:
* Expandable Straight Baton
* PR-24 Expandable Baton (certification required)
* Less Lethal Shotgun (certification required)
* Taser Probe Deployment (certification required)
* Tools of Immediate Means of Opportunity (when following additional “Use of Non-Deadly Force” policies)
* 40 mm Gas Launcher
* Department issued handgun
* Department Authorized Special Weapons
As an aside to my request - the pepperball and 40mm gas launcher are listed under the "Non Chemical Agents:" category in the PDF. It seems likely that is meant to be either Chemical Agents or Non-lethal Chemical Agents.
Regarding your request:
Our officers all carry .45 caliber firearms. All officers are authorized to carry OC spray as well as an expandable baton. Certain officers that are certified and trained to carry Tasers. These are the weapons that are commonly carried by officers on the street. All other mentioned weapons in the policy are authorized on a limited basis for certain officers that are trained and certified (i.e. members of the SWAT team).
We believe that the capacity of individual officer magazines, as well as other more detailed information regarding which officers carry which particular weapons, are exempted under MGL c. 4 sec.7 Twenty-sixth (n) and MGL c. 4 sec.7 Twenty-sixth (f).
Exemption (n) exempts records relating to the safety of persons within the commonwealth, the disclosure of which is likely to jeopardize public safety.
Exemption (f) exempts investigatory materials the disclosure of which would prejudice the possibility of effective law enforcement that such disclosure would not be in the public interest.
Should more specific information regarding officer’s weapons and magazine capacities be readily available to the public, the safety of our officers as well as their effective performance of their duties may be compromised.
Sergeant Michael Hanlon
Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.