21 Massachusetts State Troopers Got Paid For Phantom Shifts, State Police Head Says

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2018/03/20/21-massachusetts-state-troopers-got-paid-for-phantom-shifts-state-police-head-says/

Twenty-one Massachusetts state troopers assigned to the Massachusetts Turnpike got overtime pay for shifts they didn’t work, the head of the State Police said Tuesday.

The number of phantom shifts ranges from one to more than 100 per officer, she said.

An Internal Affairs investigation led to an audit of Troop E, which covers the Pike from Boston to West Stockbridge, according to a written statement from Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, the superintendent of the State Police.

Nineteen face disciplinary hearings that could result in punishments but not firings, Gilpin’s statement said.

“Depending on the outcome of these hearings, those members face a potential change in their duty status, up to and including suspension without pay, while further investigation into the discrepancies is conducted,” the press release states.

But further investigation may lead to more serious punishments, Gilpin said.

One of the troopers has already been suspended without pay for an unrelated matter, while another has retired.

The phantom shifts stem from what were known as Accident Incidence Reduction Effort patrols. They have been eliminated, Gilpin’s statement says.

State Police have provided information to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Gilpin hinted that further action could be coming.

“At the conclusion of the investigation into these discrepancies, the Department may take further action regarding the duty status of these personnel, in addition to any action taken by the Attorney General,” Gilpin’s statement says. “Through further investigation, we will seek to determine whether policies, rules or regulations of the State Police were violated, and will also seek to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.”

The audit of Troop E covered 2016. Gilpin said she has expanded the State Police investigation to include all overtime traffic enforcement shifts in the state.

The head of the State Police union, Dana Pullman, issued a statement blaming former superintendent Richard McKeon, who led the State Police before abruptly retiring last fall amid a scandal over the altering of a police report describing the arrest of a judge’s daughter.

“The Department has been in turmoil over the last several months. We believe the customs and culture that was allowed to flourish under the previous State Police leadership has compromised the public’s perception and calls into question the integrity of the hard-working men and women of the Massachusetts State Police,” Pullman said, according to MassLive.com.

The State Police Internal Affairs investigation began after a WCVB-TV Channel 5 report last fall questioning why some state troopers seem to have worked multiple traffic-enforcement shifts without writing any traffic tickets.

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