State Police Col. Christopher Mason is retiring effective next Friday, the Healey administration announced late Friday afternoon, creating a vacancy in the superintendent’s job that Gov. Maura Healey will now be able to fill with someone from inside or outside the State Police ranks.
Mason’s retirement on Feb. 17 will cap a law enforcement career of nearly 40 years, including three decades at the Massachusetts State Police. Gov. Charlie Baker tapped Mason in November 2019 to take over atop the agency at a time of scandal and turmoil. Last week, the State Police announced that it earned full accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.
Mason said he wanted to thank the Baker and Healey administrations “for placing their trust in me and providing the support and resources needed to promote public safety, implement meaningful reforms, and adopt transformative innovations that strengthen our ability to protect the Commonwealth and provide the highest level of professional policing to all Massachusetts residents and visitors.”
“I also want to thank the members of the Massachusetts State Police for your professionalism, dedication, and exceptional delivery of police services across the Commonwealth. It has been my true privilege to work alongside you,” he said.
Mason’s retirement announcement, which the governor made on a Friday afternoon while she is in Washington D.C. at meetings with other governors, said the Healey administration “will soon announce next steps in regard to leadership at the Massachusetts State Police.”
The policing reform law that Baker signed at the end of 2020 eliminated the requirement that a governor look exclusively within the State Police when appointing a new colonel. State law calls for the governor to appoint a colonel “upon the recommendation of the secretary of public safety and security.” The law requires that the colonel “have not less than 10 years of full-time experience as a sworn law enforcement officer and not less than 5 years of full-time experience in a senior administrative or supervisory position in a police force or a military body with law enforcement responsibilities.”
Mason was a 26-year State Police veteran who was working in the number-two role when Baker picked him to take the reins in 2019. His other roles with the agency included stints as a detective and as director of the Fusion Center, which coordinates intelligence with multiple state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Colonel-Superintendent Mason’s dedication to duty and selfless public service has earned the respect and trust of his department and the community around him,” Healey said in a statement. “His decades-long career in law enforcement exemplified core values of integrity, fairness, and dignity, and we are fortunate to have benefitted from his steady leadership in Massachusetts. I am grateful for his service to the state and wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement.”
The State Police said that it “advanced several major initiatives to enhance public safety, implement meaningful reforms, and adopt transformative innovations” during Mason’s tenure as colonel, including modernized training, updated policies, implementation of body-worn and cruiser-mounted cameras, GPS monitoring of the cruiser fleet, and advanced diverse recruitment efforts.
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