A bill proposed by Massachusetts legislator Benjamin Swan would punish police officers for swearing or using racial slurs in the presence of the public, a proposition that is drawing criticism from law enforcement.
Under the bill, officers could even lose their for jobs for using profanity.
Co-sponsor Paul Feroux said that it is unprofessional and “beneath the dignity” of public servants to use poor language in front of the people they are meant to represent.
Swan claims that the bill would prevent any type of negative stereotyping.
Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, said the proposal is radical and too broadly written.
“Certainly we can’t have them speaking proper English at all times while working with gangs,” Sampson said. “We feel this is very aggressive remedy for a situation that may not be as severe as projected here.”
Everett Chief Steve Mazzie agreed, concerned that exemplary veteran officers would be fired for something insignificant.
“I think that’s over the top,” Mazzie said. "I think it’s extremely difficult to legislate civility.”
The bill is scheduled for discussion in committee on Thursday.