Mass. police officers to carry new ID cards

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March 8, 2012, 6:50 pm

(NECN: Melissa Toupin)  - Northboro, Mass. police chief Mark Leahy shows off his police identification card.

The card is a first-of-its kind and is now being carried by officers in cities and towns across Massachusetts, solving an age-old problem.

“We can't possibly know what a real ID looks like,” says Leahy. “Previously, they were unique to each department.”

That's no longer the case: these credentials bare a uniform design and are aimed at stopping tampering and counterfeiting.

Deputy Chief William Brooks of the Wellesley police department took the lead in implementing the statewide system after discovering vulnerabilities with the old ID cards.

“Anyone could use an off-the-shelf printer to make an ID,” says Brooks. “Security officers don't know what to look for.”

Officers are required to carry ID cards and to show it and show it when requested for instances ranging from a traffic stop to a court appearance.

Brooks says this is the first time the public will be able to authenticate an ID carried by police.

“Any Massachusetts driver can look at it and see the ketogram,” says Brooks. “If it's not there, it's  a problem.”

Other security features include:
* the departments name and address
* seal
* and overlapping data.

Joseph Rebello, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association says the new ID’s will play a big role in security during emergencies.

“This is a good thing,” says Rebello. “In case of a major event when we bring in resources, we will know they are the correct resources.”

Police departments began issuing the cards last year.

To date, more than 92-percent of the cities and towns are using them.

Chief Leahy says he expects to see the system expand.

“I bet more states will follow when they see the wisdom and see it can really happen.”

Tags: massachusetts, Worcester, Worcester News Tonight, Melissa Toupin, police officers , Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, identification cards
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