Attorney General: Attorney General- NY State Police Report Finds Shortcomings In CT State Police Internal Affairs System, Calls For Reforms

Connecticut Attorney General's Office
Press Release



Attorney General- NY State Police Report Finds Shortcomings In CT State Police Internal Affairs System, Calls For Reforms

December 4, 2006

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, New York State Police (NYSP) Superintendent Wayne E. Bennett, and Connecticut Department of Public Safety (DPS) Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle today released a 207-page report that documents shortcomings in the Connecticut State Police (CSP) internal affairs system and recommends reforms.

The investigation was requested by state troopers who filed whistleblower complaints with Blumenthal's office about the internal affairs process. In addition, Commissioner Boyle asked the NYSP to investigate those complaints and others received from state troopers about the internal affairs system.

The report is the result of a 13-month joint investigation by Blumenthal's office and NYSP involving 262 interviews, 207 of them with current or former sworn DPS employees, thousands of pages of documents, and 112 formal requests for information. The state police internal affairs unit is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by DPS personnel.

The report concludes that many investigations of complaints against state troopers were incomplete and inadequate. It highlights 19 internal affairs cases comprising 11 whistleblower cases from state troopers investigated by Blumenthal's office and the NYSP, and the remaining eight cases by the NYSP alone. They reviewed cases involving allegations accusing state police personnel of bribery, drug use, association with drug dealers and prostitutes, sexual assault, falsified overtime, assault of a motorist and improper DWI arrests. The Attorney General's Office referred the report to the Chief State's Attorney's Office for possible criminal investigation of some cases. Some of the cases will be reinvestigated by the Connecticut State Police.

The report contains more than 60 recommendations, including requiring all complaints against troopers be documented and investigated, revamping and adequately staffing the internal affairs unit, giving the unit's commanding officer sole authority to initiate investigations and requiring him or her to report directly to the commissioner.

Blumenthal praised Boyle, as well as troopers and their union, for requesting an investigation. Blumenthal and Boyle praised the NYSP for dedication, hard work and professionalism in helping prepare the report.

"We can continue to be proud of the 1,200 hardworking, dedicated, courageous men and women who put their lives on the line every day and make the state police one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation," Blumenthal said. "Our investigation resulted from state troopers themselves having the courage and conviction to come forward with complaints about an internal affairs system in disarray and dysfunctional, and ultimately discredited. Aggressive reform will correct those problems in both personnel and system. Thanks to the troopers, Commissioner Boyle and the union, the state can address the serious, systemic shortcomings uncovered by this investigation.

"I will work closely with the state police to institute the reforms needed to address internal affairs problems identified by the troopers and the union. Their goal and mine is to preserve and protect the public's confidence in this highly professional institution," Blumenthal added.

"Internal audit and accountability by law enforcement agencies is paramount to employee and public confidence," Bennett said. "The failure to continually assess the effectiveness of programs and procedures allows them to become informally redefined over time at all levels in the organization, and agency policy is no longer clearly defined. The issues cited in this report were not intentional. The organization wanted this review to identify issues in need of attention. To their credit they have already begun to address them. That, in the final analysis, speaks of the truly proud and professional police department they are."

"The Connecticut State Police appreciate the comprehensive recommendations made by the attorney general and the New York State Police to improve our internal affairs and disciplinary process," Boyle said. "Many of the reforms already have been adopted; others will follow. I am committed to ensuring that our disciplinary process is as fair and exacting as possible."

The report concludes that members of the internal affairs unit did not purposely issue false reports or corrupt the investigative process, but in various cases, often as a result of orders from superiors, the unit failed to document relevant information and to exhaust all leads. Investigators also ignored physical and circumstantial evidence, and focused on less serious allegations.

"The net results of these actions were inadequate reports that led to inaccurate conclusions rather than deliberately falsified reports," the report says. "The result of these flawed investigations was that when an employee may have been deserving of discipline or even arrest, no action or inappropriate action was taken.

"As to the question of the internal affairs process, the Connecticut Department of Public Safety internal affairs process has been repeatedly undermined, making it ineffective. However, this is not due to the deliberate actions of members of the internal affairs unit," the report says.

The investigation found that the internal affairs unit suffers from low morale, as well as inadequate funding, staff and equipment. The report found the number of internal investigations conducted by the state police has declined steadily from 288 in 1991 to 46 in 2005, an 84 percent drop.

"While we would like to believe that this decline is a direct result of a decreasing number of complaints and incidents of misconduct, every indicator we found points to an increasing disinclination to formally investigate the complaints received as the real reason for the decrease in these investigations," the report says.

Blumenthal's and the NYSP's joint recommendations include:

  • Increase the size of the unit and make its investigators lieutenants and its commander a lieutenant colonel so they can deal with trooper supervisors and command officers as equals or superiors.

  • Provide Internal Affairs with more administrative support and upgraded computers and equipment.

  • Create a centralized system to log and track every citizen complaint.

  • Create a classification system based on the seriousness of the allegation.

  • Accept all complaints against state troopers, including those made orally, in writing, by email, in person and by anonymous and third parties.

  • Develop a program to inform the public on how to file a complaint against a trooper.

  • Train all state police personnel about the function of the internal affairs unit and the role it plays in assuring the agency's integrity and maintaining the public confidence in the state police.

    The NYSP made additional recommendations independent of the attorney general.

  • View the Full Evaluation (PDF-1728KB)

    View the Case Reports (PDF-256KB)