Internal files reveal new details on suspected police overtime abuse

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Only News 8 has obtained an internal report detailing suspected overtime abuse by a disgraced former sergeant in the West Haven Police Department.

It took News 8 several hours to dig through the 42-page independent report compiled by a local law firm that brought down the longtime face of West Haven police, Sgt. David Tammaro.  It reveals how a former captain warned his superiors as far back as 2015 about “constant issues” with Tammaro’s overtime.  One of those superiors is identified in the report as Deputy Chief Joseph Perno. 

The former captain told investigators, “I believe based on what I’ve found this may rise to a criminal level and could reasonably meet the level for an internal affairs investigation.”  However, an internal investigation was never ordered. 

The problems continued, according to the report, including complaints from rank and file that Tammaro often claimed more overtime in his role as public information officer than cops assigned to conduct the actual investigation.

The report found Tammaro routinely “awarded himself a minimum of four hours overtime” just to “monitor social media.” 

The former captain tried again, this time taking his concerns above Perno’s head to Chief John Karajanis.  He “urged the chief to conduct an internal investigation but the request ‘fell on deaf ears.'”  By early 2018 amid mounting complaints “from every facet of the organization,” Karajanis relented and ordered an investigation and placed Tammaro on paid leave.

Ultimately, Tammaro was charged by state police with nearly 100 counts of forgery in this case.  The report concludes by saying, “If the complaint was properly addressed at the time, the issues of overtime abuse would not have occurred.” 

A message left seeking comment from West Haven police was not returned.  Attempts to reach Tammaro were unsuccessful.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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