After a recent event in South Boston, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared: First of all, I think we all agree that the State Police has some work to do to rebuild public trust and credibility.
The Governor’s comments were prompted by the latest in a series of allegations of misconduct by the State Police. This most recent scandal to plague the embattled agency may result in criminal charges by Attorney General Maura Healey against members of Troop E for inflated overtime pay, or even pay for “phantom” shifts that troopers never worked. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s stealing. And no one who sits in one of these public positions should steal, period. You learn that when you’re in second grade.” Baker said. At least 30 troopers have been investigated so far.
The recent allegations against Troop E, responsible for patrolling the MassPike, have renewed scrutiny from a 2016 Inspector General’s report that the troopers rigged the system to award lucrative towing contracts to Perfection Towing of Watertown while at the same time “influencing” lower contract award scores to Perfection’s competition. In light of the renewed scrutiny, a MassDOT spokesman issued a statement that finally acknowledged that “significant changes and improvements” will be reflected in new contracts – but did not clarify whether State Police are still part of that decision-making team.
Troop F, responsible for Boston’s Logan Airport, is also under investigation for, as characterized by the Boston Globe, “astronomical and unreported compensation” for salaries of at least $300,000.
Leadership of the State Police has already changed hands only six months ago, when Superintendent Col. Richard McKeon resigned last November after it was revealed troopers altered a report to be filed in court regarding the arrest of a local judge’s daughter. Colonel Kerry Gilpin was then installed as the new superintendent by Governor Baker.
Regarding the latest scandals, Baker said, “I think the new colonel is exactly the right person to drive this train and to drive it hard and I’m going to do everything I can to support her on that agenda.”