The Massachusetts State Police have kicked 14 troopers off the force in the past dozen months for disgracing the badge — from “inappropriate” texting to “ethnic slurs” and sloppy oversight of weapons, the Herald has learned.
A public records request filed by the Herald shows 14 troopers were given dishonorable discharges — or quit while under investigation — over the past 12 months. This does not include other officers on the force linked to criminal cases, including Sgt. Bryan Erickson, 38, facing domestic violence charges in Exeter, N.H.
“It’s a mess,” said Dennis Galvin, president of the Massachusetts Association for Professional Law Enforcement. “This directly relates to hiring and training procedures.”
Galvin, a retired state police major, said MAPLE is calling for a blue-ribbon panel to examine how hiring and background checks are being done by the Massachusetts State Police. He added troubles with alcoholism must be part of any screening.
“There’s an over-average abundance of bad behavior,” Galvin said when told of the 14 troopers let go.
That includes ex-Trooper Michael Atton, who has resigned during “two internal affairs investigations,” the state police report in listing him as one of the 14 booted.
Atton was already relieved of duty after being accused of assaulting his wife in front of their children. He was arrested again over the weekend by Walpole Police who said he violated a restraining order.
Atton was earning a base pay of $80,792, but had already clocked thousands in overtime.
The list of disgraced former troopers also includes Dwayne Correia — pushed off the force in April for failing to report his gun was stolen after a $763 dinner out with friends in Providence. He had gone to Providence in an unmarked cruiser with the geo-tracking disabled, as the Herald previously reported based on another records request. His base pay was $96,105.
Col. Christoper Mason, named by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2019 to clean up the force in the wake of an overtime scandal, said he’s cracking down on bad apples in the agency.
“This list writes its own story, and no further comment is needed than this: the State Police under Colonel Mason, his Deputy, and his Command Staff are seeking discipline commensurate with conduct violations, which is what the public rightfully expects,” said agency spokesman Dave Procopio.
The agency’s public records response lists all troopers who “received dishonorable discharges” in the past dozen months.