An internal audit by the Connecticut State Police has found nearly 26,000 fake traffic tickets created by officers, local television stations and the AP reports. It's alleged that officers created the fraudulent citations in order to appear more productive and receive greater overtime pay. The state's governor, Ned Lamont, is calling for all those involved to be let go, at the very least, and a hearing has been scheduled for later in July of 2023.
The larger audit was begun following a detailed report from CTInsider in August of last year. The investigation found four officers from a particular troop had falsified "hundreds" of tickets. In that case, two officers received brief suspensions, while another two retired and received no formal punishment. Following these findings, the audit was launched which found roughly 26,000 fake tickets. Likewise, as many as 32,000 were "inaccurate," although what exactly about them wasn't factual or consistent was not stated. All of these citations were submitted to the state's racial profiling database as well, which could mean they skewed crime statistics.
As WFSB states, forgery is a felony. Some of those involved could face jail time if convicted. The statute of limitations for such a crime is only five years, though. The timeline of when the allegedly fake tickets were created is said to go back to 2016. Prosecutors will have to decide soon whether or not to bring charges against those involved, if possible.
Lawmakers are calling for justice. Connecticut state house majority leader Jason Rojas says that the situation has "dire consequences for our sense of public safety." Governor Lamont likewise says that "if they knew there were purposeful mistakes... those people should go and I think their management should take a look at themselves as well." A public hearing will be held on Thursday, July 27.
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