22 Mass. state police officers face termination after overtime abuse investigation

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Another 10 former officers have been criminally charged in connection with the abuse of policy

BOSTON — Another 22 members of the now-disbanded State Police Troop E face termination after an internal investigation upheld accusations of overtime abuse against them, Col. Christopher Mason announced Friday.

The 22 troopers and superior officers were told Thursday that the department would pursue termination and will have the opportunity to appeal the decision through a trial board, according to Mason.

“I anticipate that a number of these officers will be terminated as a result of this process,” Mason said, adding that each trooper will be required to reimburse Massachusetts taxpayers for any money they fraudulently received.

Mason’s announcement comes a day after former Lt. David Wilson pleaded guilty to six charges for stealing $31,448 in overtime pay for shifts he overlapped, left early or failed to show at all.

Wilson was one of 10 Troop E members to be criminally charged in connection to the overtime scandal, though he avoided jail time and was sentenced of two years’ probation. Troop E had jurisdiction over the Massachusetts Turnpike. That has since been divided among several regional barracks.

“We are committed to setting and enforcing clear expectations relative to the conduct and matters of ethics. That is our obligation. We will meet our obligation,” Mason said. “I will ensure that this disciplinary process progresses, that its results are fair and that is it is conducted with due process and with due regard for the serious nature of these findings. Nothing less than the public trust depends upon it.”

Mason said the department has enhanced its ethics training and put other several measures in place to identify and prevent similar behavior from reoccurring, including activating GPS tracking in cruisers and increasing supervisory oversight and auditing of time and attendance.

The department also found that the allegations of overtime abuse by the 14 retired members of Troop E were proven, and sent those findings to the State Retirement Board earlier this month, Mason said. It’s up to the board to decide if pension payments will be stopped or other action is to be taken.