SPD Review Causes Stir

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The Suffield Police Department has been undergoing an internal investigation which was ordered as of January 3, 2019, by Ex-Officio Commissioner, First Selectman Melissa Mack.

The reason for this internal investigation was described by Ms. Mack as a Suffield resident’s threatened lawsuit in regard to a perceived indiscretion on the part of the SPD.

The internal investigation of the SPD is being done by Daigle Law Group, LLC. The study is expected to last between three and six months, and was described as a process to improve operations of the department and clarify the budget process. The cost of this study to assess legal risk will be funded through the Town Counsel account in the budget. The estimated cost is $25,000 to $30,000 (figures from meeting minutes of March 27, 2019 SPC meeting).

First Selectman Mack, on January 29, responded to questions about her action to hire and proceed with this study. Ms. Mack cited the Town Charter’s authority given to First Selectmen. She consulted with Town Counsel who confirmed by an opinion that her action was appropriate. Ms. Mack said she believes she acted in the best interest of the SPD and the town.

Two of the Commissioners, Rick Stromoski and Jason Trombly, have raised serious concerns about the imposition of this study on the SPD without the consensus of the Commission.

Commissioners Stromoski and Trombly have continued to express opposition and concern that the Daigle Law Group Operational Study is not about coordination across town departments but is only for the SPD. The record does show the study was instituted with virtually no consultation or options offered. The January 23 Suffield Police Commission meeting included questions from a number of citizens, largely concerned about the operational study and its impact.

Then, on Monday, May 6 came the surprising news that Police Captain Christopher McKee was officially retired from the Suffield Police Department. He shared that he would remain active in the law enforcement profession by working with various police-related issues.

Captain McKee’s contributions to our town will be missed.

Finally, a Special Meeting was called for Tuesday, May 7. This Executive Session meeting was set up to discuss a pending complaint before the F.O.I. Commission by the Journal Inquirer. The Actions on Executive Session appear quite peculiar. They are listed as follows:

a.  Motion to reconsider the Special Meeting Agenda of January 3, 2019.

b. Motion to Amend and Approve the Meeting Agenda of January 3, 20l9.

c. Motion to reconsider the Minutes of the January 3, 2019 Special Meeting.

d. Motion to Amend and Approve the Minutes of the January 3, 2019 Special Meeting.

The Town Clerk’s office received word of the cancellation for this May 7 meeting after hours: thus the notice was posted on May 8, 2019 which was against proper protocol. 

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