BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Massachusetts State Police have sent termination letters to 22 troopers charged in the department's investigation into overtime abuse, Col. Christopher Mason announced Friday.
All of the troopers were previously implicated in the Troop E overtime scandal. The letters were sent out Thursday; termination was the maximum penalty available.
Mason said that, while those troopers will avoid prosecution, their careers will be over, and they'll be ordered to pay back all overtime collected fraudulently.
"In addition to the specific punishment imposed, we will ensure restitution is ordered," Col. Mason said. "In every case, we will require that the trooper reimburse the taxpayer dollar for dollar any money paid for hours not worked, in addition to a substantive punitive penalty."
The amount of restitution has not yet been disclosed, as the disciplinary process is still underway.
These 22 troopers facing termination are in addition to ten troopers who have been criminally charged. Mason said 13 of the 22 have been on active duty during the internal investigation, while 9 had been suspended without pay. The department has not released the troopers' names.
They have also had their cases referred to the state's retirement board for termination of their pensions, and restitution of any pension monies already collected. They have the right to an administrative appeal.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced in a statement that her office has closed the investigation into overtime abuse, and referred the investigatory materials to the Division of State Police Oversight in the Inspector General's Office.
Her office issued the following statement:
“Our thorough investigation into overtime abuse in Troop E of the Massachusetts State Police resulted in criminal charges against three superior officers and led to much-needed disciplinary action by the Internal Affairs Section of the State Police. Our criminal investigation is now closed, and we have referred all of our investigatory materials to the Division of State Police Oversight, overseen by the Inspector General’s Office, to determine what systemic changes must be made to prevent this criminal misconduct from happening again. We expect the Baker Administration to consider and implement additional reforms within the State Police to restore and maintain public trust in the agency.”
The State Police Association of Massachusetts released the following statement after Col. Mason's announcement:
“The overwhelming majority of Troopers serve with distinction every day and as an Association we will continue to defend the rights of our members. The pervasive culture of Troop E existed because of a failure of those then in command which impacts every trooper to this day. As public servants, we will work with the current Colonel to close this chapter and move this Department forward with integrity."
WBZ NewsRadio's Mike Macklin reports