The following is a press release from the Massachusetts State Police. A media conference was held this morning at Mass State Police HQ in Framingham.
FRAMINGHAM – Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin today, March 20, announced that as a result of an audit of overtime patrols worked by certain members of Troop E, the Department will schedule internal duty status hearings for 19 members.
The hearings will determine the duty status of the members while further investigation is conducted.
The audit was begun after the Department, as the result of an Internal Affairs investigation, determined the need to review payments to a handful of Troop E members for certain overtime traffic enforcement shifts – known as Accident Incidence Reduction Effort patrols — on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Following that initial stage of that review of overtime payments, Colonel Gilpin expanded the audit to include all department members who were paid for working these overtime patrols on the Turnpike in 2016.
This audit has now been completed, and has revealed apparent discrepancies between overtime earnings paid to members and actual patrols worked by the 19 members who are being scheduled for the duty status hearings. The 19 members hold the ranks of Trooper, Sergeant, and Lieutenant.
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.
One other Troop E member would have also been scheduled for a duty status hearing had he not retired last year, prior to the completion of the audit.
Additionally, one other Troop E member would have also been the subject of a duty status hearing. However, that member is currently suspended without pay as the result of a separate matter currently under investigation.
The Department has provided the results of its audit to Attorney General Maura Healey for further investigation.
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.
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.
When this issue first came to light last year, the Department eliminated the AIRE patrols. State Police also have undertaken measures to increase accountability and oversight of remaining overtime shifts, to ensure that Troopers report to supervisors at the start and end of each shift and, upon conclusion of each shift, turn in citations written during that shift.
Colonel Gilpin also announced today, March 20, that the Department is expanding the audit further to examine all overtime traffic enforcement shifts worked by personnel in all Troops. To date, there is no information to suggest the overtime pay discrepancies are wider in scope than those confirmed today, but the Colonel and her command staff are committed to ensuring full accountability Department-wide.
“Integrity, honesty, and accountability are core values of the Massachusetts State Police,” Colonel Gilpin stated. “Those are values that I, as Colonel, expect and demand, that Governor Baker and Secretary Bennett demand, and that the hard-working men and women of this Department — the overwhelming majority of our people — expect and demand of their peers.
“Most importantly, those values of honesty and integrity are what our citizens rightly expect and demand. For us to fulfill our mission as a police agency, we must have the public’s trust.”