Treat police, public equally and release arrest report

Police officers facing criminal charges should not receive special treatment not otherwise provided the public, yet special treatment is exactly what appears to be happening in the case of North Stonington Resident State Trooper David F. Greene.

State Police arrested Greene on Aug. 27 on a charge of first-degree threatening, a Class D felony. Greene’s name did not show up in the Troop E arrest logbook. What a convenient oversight. State police acknowledged the arrest only when specifically asked by The Day, acting on a tip.

Last year the legislature approved and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill that clarified and updated the law governing the release of arrest information. It is clear. In absence of an arrest warrant, which is the case here, police must release the official arrest, incident or similar report.

These reports summarize what is alleged to have happened. Yet nearly three weeks after The Day requested the report, state police continue to stonewall.

A spokesperson, Trooper First Class Kelly Grant, told a Day staff writer shortly after the arrest that the threat was against a woman, took place at his home, and that Greene possessed a firearm. Greene was suspended pending an Internal Affairs investigation and surrendered his duty weapon.

That's good to know, but the public has the right, and the law stipulates, the release of the report with all relevant information (Names of victims and witnesses are exempt from disclosure). 

There is nothing to review here, no gray area. The information is public. Police should provide it.

Attention Dora P. Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, officers under your authority are not complying with the law signed by your boss, the governor.

The department’s Mission Statement commits to the core values of PRIDE.

“Professionalism through an elite and diverse team of trained men and women.

Respect for ourselves and others through our words and actions.

Integrity through adherence to standards and values that merit public trust.

Dedication to our colleagues, our values, and to the service of others.

Equality through fair and unprejudiced application of the law.”

It’s not professional to give troopers special treatment. It is disrespectful to the public, undermines public trust, and demonstrates unfair and prejudiced application of law.

In other words, it is nothing to be proud about. Instead, it is shameful.

Release the report, now.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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