Public Safety

Ensuring Public Safety

Public safety is ever-evolving and we must remain proactive in our approach to new issues that arise over time. I believe in working with first responders to support those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities, modernize law enforcement, and ensure equal protection under the law for everyone.

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Fast Facts

  • Working with community safety leaders to ensure equitable, quality public safety services for all South Shore residents.
  • Secured funding for school safety technology to increase the security of public schools.
  • Endorsed by the Massachusetts Coalition of Police and the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.

Proud to be endorsed by

Mass Coalition of Police

Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts

Supporting First Responders

  • Senator O’Connor believes that public safety officers who dedicate themselves to the safety of every Massachusetts resident are indispensable parts of our community. This is why Senator O’Connor fights for legislation that evaluates, reforms, and supports our Police and Fire Departments.
  • As we modernize our public safety system to ensure equal protection of all citizens, regardless of race or color, Senator O’Connor believes in preserving due process for police officers, while implementing certification systems and increased training for the law enforcement profession.
  • In the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget, Senator O’Connor secured $10,000 for the Weymouth Police Department to design and build a permanent memorial for Sergeant Michael Chesna, who was tragically killed in the line of duty on July 15, 2018, in defense of the community he loved and served.
  • Senator O’Connor was a lead advocate in passing legislation to double the Line of Duty Death Benefit for the families of first responders from $150,000 to $300,000. The legislation was signed into law in 2017 and will provide more equitable relief for families who lost a loved one in the line of duty.
  • In 2018, Senator O’Connor supported and passed “An Act relative to the municipal police training fund”, a landmark bill that established a funding mechanism to give our first responders the best training possible, so that they can meet the extreme demands of their job and confront threats to our communities and to themselves.
  • Senator O’Connor’s legislation has also helped to fund Massachusetts Fire Departments, providing them with the equipment and resources they need to save lives. He co- sponsored a bill in 2018 that set up a bulk-purchasing program to buy extractors at a reduced price to clean fire gear, protecting fire fighters from the toxic carcinogens than can remain in gear after entering a burning building.

Adapting Public Safety Measures to Changing Environments

  • Senator O’Connor has consistently advocated to pass legislation that fights crime and violence in the Commonwealth.
  • He supports providing resources to law enforcement officials tasked with pursuing interstate traffickers of fentanyl and carfentanil, illegal firearms, and other underground criminal systems.
  • In 2016, he sponsored an amendment allowing rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to immediately suspend a driver if they have been cited for a serious safety violation. 
  • In 2020, Senator O’Connor’s bill, commonly known as “Dana’s Law”, passed to create a registry of caretakers found to have abused individuals under their care. Once a person’s name appears on the registry, they will be barred from hire within the caretaking industry.

Strengthening laws to protect Domestic Violence Victims

  • Senator O’Connor has been advocating for aggressive protection for anyone facing domestic threats. Working alongside victims and victims’ families, he continues to find ways to strengthen our laws to truly protect domestic violence victims. This includes:
  • Increasing access to restraining orders and including ways to inform officials if there is an immediate threat to the victim’s life
  • Improving the court and probation system to give domestic violence victims a stronger voice and increased protection from previous abusers
  • Strengthening educational programs and monitoring for any person who has committed domestic abuse

Increasing the Security of Public Spaces

  • In response to national gun violence tragedies, his legislation created “An Active Shooter/ Hostile Event Response” program, referred to as “ASHER”, as the standard guidelines for active shooter or hostile event situations in Massachusetts.
  • In 2019, he also filed legislation to establish a grant program to assist municipalities without a School Resource Officer to afford one, believing in the ability of SRO’s to protect school campuses, foster a healthy social environment, and help students build positive relationships with law enforcement.  
  • Supporting and securing school safety grants to South Shore public schools who apply for funding to increase security camera surveillance, door locking mechanisms, and communications systems.

Investing in Safety  

  • In addition to advocating for legislation that promotes the health and safety of constituents, Senator O’Connor frequently secures funding for programs and resources to further protect communities.
  • Examples of secured funding over the years includes: 
  • $10 Million for municipal police training across the Commonwealth 
  • $100,000 for structural repairs for the Humarock Fire Station in Scituate 
  • $99,000 to implement the Buyer Diversion Treatment Alternative Program in towns of Weymouth, Quincy, Braintree, and Randolph. 
  • $44,674 to Fire Departments across the South Shore for fire safety education programs. 
  • $19,616 in grants to South Shore Fire Departments for gear and equipment that will reduce firefighters’ exposure to cancer-causing chemicals on the job

Sponsored Legislation

  • An Act relative to the protection of police officers 
  • An Act providing health insurance coverage to the surviving children of police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty
  • An Act relative to crimes against police officers 
  • An Act establishing a special commission to study the prevention of heroin trafficking
  • An Act relative to level-three sex offender residency restrictions
  • An Act relative to police pursuits
  • An Act relative to emergency response in an active shooter or hostile event situation
  • An Act creating a school resource officer grant program and fund
  • An Act to increase the safety of individuals living in group homes
  • An Act relative to the safety of seniors in assisted living facilities

State Senator Patrick O'Connor: Keeping our Communities Safe

Senator O'Connor attended and personally congratulated the graduates of the 63rd Recruit Officer Class of the Plymouth Police Academy. This recruit class had 42 new officers with 6 of them going on to serve in Duxbury, Marshfield, Scituate and Weymouth.


Since Senator Patrick O’Connor first became involved in public service, he has focused on providing the greatest resources possible for municipal operations – especially local Police Departments. Below are some key legislative and budgetary measures that Senator O’Connor has either sponsored or supported:


Key Bills:

House Bill 4516, An Act relative to the municipal police training fund

Current Status: Signed into law, Chapter 153 of the Acts of 2018

This legislation will establish a reliable and dedicated funding source of up to $10 Million for municipal police training across the Commonwealth, similar to that of municipal firefighters, by establishing a $2 surcharge on all rented vehicles and depositing it into a dedicated fund. The legislature has generally funded Municipal Police Training (MPT) through appropriations in the state budget.

O’Connor’s Actions: Submitted a formal request to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to approve of and release the bill for a further vote. Spoke in favor of passing the bill on the Senate floor during debate. Voted in favor of passing the bill to be engrossed. Attended the ceremonial bill signing on July 25, 2018.


Senate Bill 2633, An Act relative to critical incident intervention by emergency service providers

Current Status: Pending before the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading

This bill would allow for afflicted emergency service providers to be given critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services. These services would be protected as confidential, and anyone on a critical incident team who is conducting these services would be shielded from having to testify or divulge any information obtained through that work.

O’Connor’s Actions: Submitted a Formal Request to the Committee on Bills in the Third Reading to approve of and release the bill for a further vote. Maintaining contact with Committee to track any bill progress.


Forthcoming: A home rule petition from the Town of Weymouth to grant Weymouth Sergeant Michael C. Chesna’s family pension that reflects his elevation in rank from Officer to Sergeant.


Bill & Budget Amendments:

Sponsored by O’Connor:

Criminal Justice Reform Bill Amendment #87, Modernizing the Massachusetts Wiretap Law

Expands the use of electronic surveillance by state investigators. Under current law, electronic surveillance can only be used when a crime is committed in connection with organized crime. This amendment would remove this restriction to allow enhanced investigation of a wider array of criminal activity. The amendment retains the process and standards needed to warrant a wiretap.


Criminal Justice Reform Bill Amendment #116, Establishing Carfentanil Sentences

Creates a sentencing scheme for carfentanil. Creates a minimum sentence of five years for the trafficking, manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing more than 1 milligram of carfentanil. 1 milligram is the proven amount of carfentanil that can kill an average size adult male. "Carfentanil" includes any derivative of the drug and any mixture containing more than 1 milligram of the drug or a derivative of it.


FY19 Budget Amendment #1144, Crime Lab Testing Equipment

$1,000,000 to the state police crime laboratory to support increasing costs for training, certification, and testing of fentanyl, carfentanil, and other synthetic opioids in pure form.


FY19 Budget Amendment #74, Regional Animal Control Vehicle

Provides $75,000 for Cohasset to purchase a pickup truck to be used by the animal control officer in Cohasset, Norwell, and Hull.


FY18 Budget Amendment #190, Cohasset and Hull School Resource Officers

Provides $100,000 to the Cohasset Public Schools for a school resource officer and $153,132 to the Hull Public Schools for a school resource officer


Co-Sponsored by O’Connor:

FY19 Budget Amendments:

  • #344, Joint Labor Management Committee for Municipal Police and Fire

This budget amendment seeks to restore the JLMC to the House and Senate budget amounts that were originally set for Fiscal Year 2018 ($250,000). The JLMC budget supports the part-time Chairman, four (4) part-time Senior Staff Representatives and the direct expenses of the Committee, and is charged with the resolution of disputes over the terms of collective bargaining agreements between municipalities and their professional firefighters and police employees. Funding for the JLMC in Fiscal Year 2017 was at $250,000 and the caseload of the JLMC continues to increase.

  • #1032, Assault and Battery Against a Police Officer

Institutes a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone who discharges a weapon at a police officer.

  • #1072, State Police Radio System

Requires the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to report on a course of action for updating the state police radio system by December 1, 2018.

  • #1093 Municipal Police Insurance

GIC had legislation passed (805 CMR 9.00) related to their services to public employees. Under 9.01, it details that the new employee must "wait 60 days for their first date of employment to receive health insurance". Municipalities within the Commonwealth that are not affiliated with GIC do not have the same restrictions; they insure their police officers beginning their first day of employment. This poses the first inconsistency in how health insurance is offered to municipal employees in the state. This amendment would allow all public employees/police officers the benefit of health insurance beginning on the first day of employment, and eliminate the current 60 day wait period.

  • #1114/1126, Municipal Police Training Fund

Creates a new dedicated funding source to support Municipal Police Training by assessing a $2 surcharge on all car rental transactions and directs receipts from the fees imposed and collected pursuant to Section 20 of Chapter 90 as amended by section 79 of Chapter 38 of the Acts of 2013 into the same account.