Friday, December 15, 2006

Connecticut State Police can't be trusted to police themselves

More than ever, we need Civilian Oversight of Police to see that there are ethics, laws are obeyed, and that police act in our best interest, not just their own interests.

Human laziness and other human nature comes out when there is no oversight.


CONNECTICUT NEWS

No Troopers On State Police Reform Group

4:59 PM EST, December 15, 2006
By TRACY GORDON FOX, The Hartford Courant
COLCHESTER -- On Gov. M. Jodi Rell's newly appointed commission to oversee the reform of the state police internal affairs unit, there is a state representative, a judge, a prosecutor, a local police chief, and even a town council member.

But there is not one state trooper on it, an omission that has angered some members of the department's union, who said they asked for the outside inquiry in the first place.

Rell announced she would form the commission on Dec. 4, the day a scathing 168-page report by the New York State Police and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was released on the state police internal affairs unit. The report outlined misconduct and improper influence in cases against troopers that involved domestic violence, sexual assaults, drunk driving and larceny.

Former Republican state Rep. Robert Farr, of West Hartford, who unsuccessfully challenged Blumenthal will chair the commission, and Public Safety Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle will act as an ex-officio member. Boyle was a former federal prosecutor and East Hartford police officer.

Besides Farr and Boyle, the commission will include state Rep. Stephen Dargan, D-West Haven, Co-Chairman of the General Assembly's Public Safety Committee, Superior Court Judge Maureen Keegan of Cheshire, Glastonbury Town Council Chairwoman Susan Karp, who will serve as a member of the public, State's Attorney Walter Flanagan of Danbury, Milford Police Chief Thomas Flaherty, who is also chairman of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council of Connecticut, and former U.S. Marshal John O'Connor of West Haven.

Union President Steven Rief called it "a slap in the face," that not one of the 1155 union members was named to the commission.

"I'm extremely disappointed the union does not have a position on this commission," Rief said. "The only reason we even had the New York State Police and the attorney general's investigation is because this union came forward to the commissioner.

"It's an injustice that defies logic," Rief said.

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