The state police union has reached out to the governor, alleging favoritism the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and questioning the integrity of the disciplinary process.
A letter from the state police union executive committee to Gov. Dannel Malloy expressed claims that Commissioner Reuben Bradford and Col. Danny Stebbins delayed the disciplinary process for a high-ranking member of the state police who is accused of ordering another employee to delete dash cam video.
The union leadership claims that Lt. Col Robert Corona, the commanding officer of the state police office of field operations, ordered a civilian employee to delete dash-cam video of a traffic stop.
Officials from the state police union said the issue came to their attention in June 2012, when members alerted them of a citizen complaint about a traffic stop Corona conducted.
Corona declined to talk with an Associated Press reporter when reached on his cellphone.
“When Lt. Col. Corona learned about the complaint, he allegedly ordered a civilian employee of the department to delete the video of the stop, which was documented by Lt. Col. Corona’s dashboard camera. Destruction of a public record is a violation of department policy and tampering with evidence is a Class D felony,” the letter from the state police union executive committee to the governor says.
They said, to their knowledge, no disciplinary proceeding has been initiated in the 16 months since the alleged conduct.
“We have been advised that the agency referred this case to the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and that their investigation concluded that Lt. Col. Corona indeed violated agency rules.
Notwithstanding, it appears that Lt. Col. Corona will be permitted to voluntarily retire effective December 1, 2013 without being disciplined,” the letter said.
They allege that Commissioner Bradford made an exception for Corona and he’ll be allowed to retain a retired State Police badge, which they said is an honor that is traditionally limited to Troopers who are in good standing.
He will be permitted to voluntarily retire, effective Dec. 1, and retain his retired State police badge, the letter alleges, and the union claims a “culture of favoritism” in the department.
“The discipline Troopers receive should be based on their conduct, not the rank insignia on their lapels or their loyalty to their commanders,” the letter said.
Malloy referred questions to state police.
Lt. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the state police said, the investigation showed that no crime had been committed by Corona.
However the commander did violated the rules of the state police which can result in a 3-5 day suspension. Corona is being allowed to retired on December 1.
"It's been done in the past where a trooper has committed an infraction and is allowed to retire and rather than serve a penalty," said Vance.
Vance also said the recording that was destroyed was not evidence in any case.
"There was nothing of any evidentiary nature that was asked to be deleted," he said.