During an internal affairs investigation into the Massachusetts State Police over discrepancies between the pay for overtime shifts and the actual shifts worked, nine troopers have been suspended without pay and another nine have retired.
Twenty-one total troopers, including troopers, sergeants and lieutenants, have been accused of receiving pay for overtime shifts while not actually working those shifts, the state department announced.
Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin announced last week that because of an audit of overtime patrols worked by certain members of Troop E — which has barracks along the Massachusetts Turnpike— 19 of those troopers would face internal duty status hearings.
Two troopers were excluded from those hearings, the state police explained, because one is currently suspended without pay for an unrelated matter under investigation and the other retired prior to the opening of the internal affairs investigation.
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This alleged overtime scam may go far beyond Troop E, however. According to a Boston Globe report out Monday, payroll records for 140 troopers have been hidden from the public and not filed with the state comptroller for years.
Other records show that at least 79 percent of Troop F, which covers Logan Airport, made more last year than Gov. Charlie Baker. Fourteen of those troopers earned more in overtime pay than in base pay, the Globe reported.
The nine troopers who retired since the start of the investigation were given “general discharges,” the state police said, because “department members who retire while a subject of an internal affairs investigation do not receive honorable discharges.”
Three of those troopers retired on Tuesday and six retired on Friday, all prior to their duty status hearings, which were scheduled for Friday.
As a result of the Friday hearings, the nine others were suspended without pay. One trooper was kept on active duty. All suspended troopers had to return their department-issued cruisers, weapons and equipment.
“Integrity, honesty, and accountability are core values of the Massachusetts State Police,” Gilpin said on Tuesday when announcing the start of the investigation. “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,” he added, “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.”
The investigation is ongoing and will determine whether “policies, rules or regulations” of the state police were violated, the department announced, and if criminal charges are warranted.