A Legal Defense Fund for Massachusetts Police Officers
When officers find themselves in need of professional, legal representation, they can always turn to the Massachusetts Police Association (MPA) for help! We have established a legal fund for members of law enforcement using one of the most prominent law firms in the city of Worcester, MA, Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C. The defense fund is comprehensive, covers a majority of the legal issues faced by police officers, and designed to protect their rights as Americans, their families, and their livelihoods as agents of the law.
We invite you to take some time to review some of the most important questions and answers you may have:
Who is qualified to join the legal defense fund?
Any member in good standing of Massachusetts Police Association may join the Legal Defense Fund. Many departments join through their union. If you are unsure if you are covered, check with your department’s union. If you are not already cover and would like to join independently, fill out the individual application.
Floow this link: Legal Defense Fund Application.
What do I get when I join the legal defense fund?
You get the professional legal services of attorneys experienced in police misconduct law, including the expenses of litigation, at no additional charge to you beyond your yearly membership fee.
How much does it cost?
The annual membership fee is $250 for a full calendar year and is prorated for those that join after January 1st of each year. Although the membership fee is subject to change in the future, it is fixed for the calendar year that it covers. Members cannot and will not be asked to pay increases or surcharges of any sort during the coverage period.
How long does the coverage last?
The coverage period runs from the date that the application and membership fee are received and accepted by the Chairman of the Legal Defense Fund Committee. You are covered for all job-related incidents that occur from that date until the end of the calendar year. It is the date of the underlying incident that controls coverage questions, not the date that you are sued or that you are suspended or that you are charged.
What kinds of charges or legal actions does the legal defense fund cover?
This is a legal defense fund. It is designed to provide professional legal representation in the defense of charges brought against any member by anyone, whether public or private, and whether civil, criminal or administrative in nature. However, the charges must arise out of an incident that occurred during the coverage period and that is related to the performance of a member’s official duty or authority. This is regardless of the member officer’s duty status at the time of the incident or at the time legal representation becomes necessary. It does not matter if the charges are brought by a private individual, by a police department, by a City Council, Board of Selectmen, or Town Manager, or by any federal, state, county, or local board, committee or commission.
Is there anything that this legal defense fund does not cover?
It does not cover any action in which a member is a plaintiff or the initiator of an action. That is, it does not cover a situation where a member wants to bring criminal or civil charges against another person. It does not cover a situation where a member wants to go into court or before an administrative body to redress some grievance by way of a lawsuit or legal action.
Is there any way that I can lose my benefits under the legal defense fund even though I am otherwise qualified?
Yes. One way is for you to choose your own attorney instead of selecting and notifying the Legal Defense Fund attorneys of your difficulty initially. The Legal Defense Fund is not obligated to pick up the case in midstream.
Another way is for you to fail to cooperate with the Legal Defense Fund attorneys in your own defense. During the course of their representation of you the Legal Defense Fund attorneys will ask you to assist them in many ways, such as obtaining names and addresses of witnesses, preparing for hearings, filling out interrogatories, and producing documents and records within your control.
Finally, if your employer or an insurer will defend and indemnify you without reservation of any rights, then you are not entitled to representation by the Legal Defense Fund.
Retirees working details may join the legal defense fund
MPA members who are still working details and road jobs for Massachusetts police departments in order to supplement their retirements can join the MPA Legal Defense Fund.
We have a new application available for retired members to complete and send along with your check to Alissa Burke at her address: 41 Therese Marie Lane, West Springfield, MA 01089. The cost of membership is the same as for active MPA members, and you may prorate it in the same way.
To apply for the MPA Legal Defense Fund Membership, click and download the attached form HERE.