Forced Retirements Are Not Enough in Massachusetts State Police Scandals

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State officials need to fix whatever led to the Massachusetts State Police scandals TrooperGate and LeighaGate – and do it publicly.

The forced retirements of the two top State Police officials in November and of two more high-ranking officers this week are not enough.

It is vital that the findings of the current investigations are made public. Once they have the facts, State Police (or the Massachusetts Attorney General) must not hide behind excuses such as “It’s a personnel matter” or “The investigation is pending.”

We’re far past the point where citizens of Massachusetts can just assume that the State Police will do the right thing without being publicly accountable for what they do. And if State Police are reluctant to tell us their findings, Governor Charlie Baker needs to make sure they do it anyway.

TrooperGate goes to the integrity of a State Police report – whether a connected person can expect preferential treatment that an unconnected person wouldn’t get. In October, a State Police trooper was ordered to scrub from his official report an account of what the daughter of a current judge and former Worcester prosecutor told him when he arrested her – that she had performed sex acts to get heroin he found in her car and that she offered him sex acts for leniency.

Possibly, the trooper’s lawsuit concerning the case will result in public disclosure of what happened. But whether it does or not, state officials have to make sure the facts are made public.

The latest scandal, which broke this week, is about what kind of people can become state troopers. Nobody demands that law enforcement officers be saints – but if we don’t have confidence that officers have led basically law-abiding lives and have decent characters, how can we have confidence in our police?

The career of state trooper Leigha Genduso seems to have benefited from friendly relations with men in high places.

This being Massachusetts, that’s not shocking. We all know that the distribution of government jobs around here isn’t exactly on the up-and-up.

But no matter whose girlfriend she was, how can someone who gave the following answers on the witness stand during a February 2007 federal drug trafficking trial of her former live-in boyfriend have become a state trooper?

Q.  Did you ever sell marijuana?
  Yes, I did.
Q.  When?
A.  Between 2002 and 2003.

Q.  For how long did you sell marijuana to Tim?
A.  Oh, it could have been ten times, even more.
Q.  How much were you selling at a time?
A.  Sometimes up to ten pounds at a time.

Q.  How much were you making?
A.  I was making at least 200 a pound.

Q.  Did you ever sell Tim any other kind of marijuana?
A.  Yes, I did.
Q.  What kind?
A.  Hydroponic, also known as High Bud.
Q.  What is that?
A.  It is a higher consistency —

Q.  How many times did you sell the hydro to Tim?
A.  Probably three to four times, maybe more.
Q.  How much at a time?
A.  Usually a pound.
Q.  How much were you making per pound?
A.  A lot more: 6-, $700.

Q.  Ms. Genduso, you lied to the grand jury about what you did with that box of money. We’ve established that already, right?
A.  That’s correct.


If Leigha Genduso became a Massachusetts state trooper …

Who else did?