CT State Police union issues vote of no confidence in leaders amid ticketing scandal

The Connecticut State Police Union issued the scathing letter to their leaders and a vote of no confidence, while also filing an injunction to keep the names of the troopers involved sealed.

News 12 Staff

Aug 10, 2023, 11:47 PM

Updated 292 days ago

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Connecticut’s state police union has issued a vote of no confidence in its police leadership after lawmakers grilled state police leaders about thousands of potentially fake traffic tickets last month.
The Connecticut State Police Union issued the scathing letter to their leaders and a vote of no confidence, while also filing an injunction to keep the names of the troopers involved sealed.
The letter, dated Thursday, accuses Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella and State Police Col. Stavros Mellekas of “foster(ing) an environment of mistrust” and “tarnishing the reputation of Connecticut State Police.”
The letter, signed by union President Todd Fedigan, says police leadership failed to defend troopers against the Traffic Stop Audit Report.
The letter also cited specific examples from Rovella’s testimony two weeks ago, which they say went “at best confusing, disoriented and weak.”
The union is calling for the resignation of Rovella and Mellekas.
“It's actually one of the most embarrassing things we've ever seen from our command staff. We expect our command staff to stand up and defend the good names and reputations of our troopers in our agency,” says Andrew Matthews, executive director of the Connecticut State Police Union.
State Police are not commenting on the matter.
Also in the letter, the union criticized leadership for not “challenging the methodology” of the audit.
“The message we didn’t hear is, defense, usually you’re innocent until proven guilty. The commissioner’s comments about criminal conduct - there is no evidence of that,” says Matthews. “For him to suggest that there was a ‘pay to play’ that they haven't found yet is really misleading to the public.”
recent audit from the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project found “a high likelihood” that almost 26,000 traffic citations were fabricated between 2014 and 2021 – and that more than 30,000 more tickets were questionable. Tickets were flagged if they appeared in the state’s racial profiling database, but not the Central Infractions Bureau system – or vice versa.
One of the report’s lead authors told lawmakers that overreported tickets were almost 10% more likely to be listed as white drivers, while underreported stops were more likely to be minority drivers.
Top brass with the state police said they have launched their own internal audit and are also cooperating with outside probes into whether the “ghost tickets” are fake – and if so, if they were entered intentionally.
The Connecticut State Police Union urged the public and the press to wait for all the facts to come out. But they also suggested some troopers may have inflated their traffic stops – not for racial reasons, but to meet quotas.
One of the audit’s authors, Ken Barone, who says the team at the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project stands by their audits, and there should be no confusion about their findings.
“We had numerous checks and balances built into the audit, and we stand behind our findings. I'm not sure why anybody is saying that this report is a draft report,” says Barone.
The union referred to the audit as a “preliminary draft” - Barone says the final version was submitted to police in June. Since then, six troopers have been removed, or “scrubbed,” from the report, Barone says, due to a discrepancy with reassigned badge numbers.
“The result of issues that originated with State Police,” says Barone.
“Shouldn't all the scrubbing and digging into whether somebody actually did something inappropriate have been done before you issued a final draft?” says Matthews.
Matthews says they’ll be in court at the end of August for the injunction to keep the troopers’ names private.


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