Mason takes over as state’s top cop

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A longtime State Police trooper with ties to the Cape and Islands district attorney has been named the state’s top cop, according to the State House News Service.

Christopher Mason, who at one time was the lead detective for the C-PAC unit for Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, is taking over as the next colonel of the Massachusetts State Police.

Mason was named on Wednesday by Gov. Charlie Baker to replace Col. Kerry Gilpin, who is stepping down from the agency, which has been plagued by scandal, according to the news service.

Mason is a 26-year veteran of the State Police from Barnstable.

“I am optimistic and energized about the future of the Massachusetts State Police,” Mason was quoted as saying by State House News. “That optimism is based upon and supported by the incredibly brave and dedicated work the State Police perform individually and collectively … they are some of the finest police professionals anywhere. Today, I’ve introduced some key themes and initial reforms that I would like to get started on immediately. In the coming weeks, I plan to present additional reforms that will deepen the department’s commitment to improve accountability, increase diversity, and restore public trust.”

According to the news service, Mason intends to introduce training reforms at the State Police Academy in New Braintree from “paramilitary training” and toward more “modern policing” skills, like de-escalation and empathy.