MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – The Connecticut State Police Union released a statement on Thursday calling for the resignation of Connecticut State Police Commissioner James Rovella and Deputy Commissioner Stavros Mellekas.
The letter states that union leadership had an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the Rovella and Mellekas’ leadership. The union is calling for Rovella and Mellekas to resign, or for Gov. Ned Lamont to find a suitable replacement for them.
The union alleges that Rovella had fostered an environment of mistrust and disregarded the union contract. The letter states the union does not believe Rovella and Mellekas have the leadership skills necessary to lead the agency into the future.
The letter alleges Rovella has shown favoritism by interfering with several investigations into troopers close to him. The union stated that Rovella and Mellakas failed to defend the state police against “unwarranted criticism” about the “Traffic Stop Data Audit Report.”
The report accuses multiple state troopers of providing false traffic data to the state racial profiling board.
That information skewed reports on the race and ethnicity of drivers who were pulled over.
The Connecticut State Police Union President Todd Fenigan said there are countless examples of poor leadership but the fake ticket scandal is the “icing on the cake.”
“It just wasn’t prudent. It came out too early. There are many reasons why someone tripped the data metric. They should’ve done their due diligence and narrowed that list, which we believe is significantly going to get narrowed.”
The union says this scandal shows commissioner James Rovella does not support state police.
“It’s almost like he’s fostered this environment of ‘me verses them,’ and it shouldn’t be that way,” Fenigan said.
The union said that Rovella and Mellakas did not defend the troopers accused of submitting falsified data. The union said Rovella and Mellaka’s public comments about the audit said the troopers committed criminal conduct and implied that troopers have discriminatory habits when interacting with the public.
The letter states that the accused had an obligation to challenge the methodology used in the audit after five troopers were exonerated from any wrongdoing after being accused of submitting false data.
The union alleges Mellekas and Rovella’s public comments should have communicated they were confident that the majority of their troopers would be cleared of wrongdoing.
The union says they support a fair and impartial investigation before any names are released then want those troopers held accountable.
“When the list is narrowed down, anyone that did anything niveous will have to answer for their actions, and we stand by that,” said Connecticut State Police Union President Todd Fenigan.
The Connecticut State Police Union previously voted no confidence (687-18) in August 2020.
The Connecticut State Police Union accuses Rovella and Mellkas of violating the state police code of conduct and making false allegations about troopers accused in the “Traffic Stop Data Audit Report.”
Mike Lawlor, an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven said the audit is a complicated issue and the union’s vote of no confidence does not help.
“The goal here is to solve the problem, and unfortunately, I don’t think the union is not making it easier,” Lawlor said.
News 8 has reached out to Rovella and Mellekas for comment.
The Connecticut State Police said the agency would not be speaking on this matter.