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More Massachusetts State Police troopers will be disciplined in the overtime fraud scandal that has resulted in criminal charges against 10 troopers. The scandal implicated a total of 46 troopers for allegedly getting overtime pay for hours they didn't work and trying to cover it up. Of those, 14 troopers have retired.
State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said his internal investigation supports allegations against the remaining officers and he recommended that 22 members of the force be fired.
"Under the department disciplines rules, the maximum penalty for these charges sustained here is termination," Mason said at a news conference this morning. "As a result, I have directed the internal affairs section to notify each member of my intent to pursue termination of their employment with the Massachusetts State Police."
Mason said most of the 22 are troopers, although some sergeants were implicated as well. None were named. They will now go through the department's disciplinary process and can request to have their cases heard by a trial board.
"I anticipate that a number of these officers will be terminated as a result of this process," he said.
Some officers will pay restitution and the officers may lose their retirement benefits as the State Retirement Board has been notified of the investigation's findings, according to Mason.
"We will ensure restitution is ordered in every case," Mason said. "We will require that the trooper reimburse the taxpayer dollar for dollar."
All 46 were members of the now disbanded Troop E, which primarily policed the Massachusetts Turnpike. One of the 10 troopers criminally charged in the scandal was sentenced this week to two years of probation. Another trooper faces sentencing next week.
The State Police Association of Massachusetts said it will continue to defend the rights of its members.
"The pervasive culture of Troop E existed because of a failure of those then in command, which impacts every trooper to this day," the union said in a statement released Friday. "As public servants, we will work with the current Colonel to close this chapter and move this Department forward with integrity."
Newly found boxes of citations from Troop E were turned over to federal investigators this month. Mason said any new evidence that might come forward will be investigated. He admitted that the scandal has harmed the entire department.
"I think the public has a right to be skeptical with the Massachusetts State Police. And so we're working hard to regain that trust. Trust isn't something that's earned overnight. We understand that," he said.
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