HOW LONG DO PUBLIC EMPLOYERS KEEP CERTAIN RECORDS?
Municipal employers in Massachusetts generally retain records as per the Commonwealth’s Municipal Retention Schedule – click this link for it:
Regarding specifically Police Agencies, two sections of this schedule are significant. First, the personnel records section, common to all municipal departments, is located on p. 23, and it addresses the retention of traditional personnel information (as opposed to investigation materials, complaints, etc.)
Of more relevance these days, however, is the Police agency retention schedule set out on p. 94-100. Here are some highlights and the retention periods:
-16.011 – Civilian Complaints w/ no officer named – 4 yrs after investigation is closed;
-16.012 – Civilian Complaints, substantiated – 7 yrs after close of investigation;
-16.013 – Civilian Complaints, unsubstantiated – 5 yrs after close
-16.018 – Disciplinary Files resulting from admin. reprimand – 7 yrs following closure, and then maintained with p-file;
-16.019 – Disciplinary Case file from civilian complaint – same as 16.018;
-16.034 – IA Files – 7 yrs after closure;
-16.063 – Administrative Reprimands – permanent (but see below);
-16.064 – Reprimands from Civilian Complaint – 7 yrs after closure (but see below).
Some CBA’s or policies have provisions allowing for certain things to be removed from personnel records. The personnel records law – GL c. 149, Sec 52C – does allow for items to be removed from a the personnel record by agreement. It also provides for penalties for failure to give employees notice that info was placed into thier records.
HOW DO I CHECK WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN MY FILE?
The law requires that employers allow employees to review their files and actually get a complete copy upon request. We have incorporated this legal obligation into the request form below. Each employee wishing to review his/her file must submit the request individually. Given the recent climate, everyone should know what is in his or her personnel record – and if something is missing or something is included in error, request that the record be corrected.Share