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Major Crime Unit Investigates Bunnell

The internal affairs investigation questions the Montville Police lieutenant's use of the COLLECT database

Montville Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell is the subject of  an internal affairs investigation being conducted by the Eastern District Major Crime Unit of the Connecticut State Police.

The investigation deals with a state police background-information database, and whether Bunnell used it improperly.

Bunnell is not on administrative leave; Mayor Ron McDaniel, who is the head of the police department, said that the state did not believe the allegations warranted administrative leave.

Lt. John S. Eckersley, commanding officer of Eastern District Major Crime, informed Bunnell in a letter dated April 3 that the complaint being investigated “concerns allegations that you…. Did not follow proper procedures for requesting criminal background checks on 38 occasions, between 10-28-11 and 01-28-12.”

The complaint was lodged by Lt. Samuel R. Izzarelli, commanding officer of Troop E, follosing a report by Versie Jones, an auditor with the COLLECT System.

According to its website, the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing (COLLECT) System lets users find information that the state has about people, and find motor vehicle and criminal history data on the national and international level.

The complaint alleges that when Jones performed a “pre-audit review” of the criminal history log of the COLLECT system, she noticed that Bunnell “was not following the proper procedure for requesting a criminal background check.”

The field for “Requester,” Jones wrote, should contain the name and rank of the person requesting the criminal history.

The reason for the request should contain a valid case number, Jones wrote. “If a case number is not available, a specific comment must be entered. This comment must indicate why the criminal history has been requested.”

The complaint alleges that Bunnell did not properly complete the required fields.

When Jones addressed the issue during the audit, she was “informed by Officer (Robin) Salvatore that she had reviewed the log and discovered misuse by Lt. Leonard Bunnell.”

Salvatore showed Jones a computer entry by Bunnell “that documented a criminal history request by the Parks and Rec Director for a volunteer coach. She stated that Lt. Bunnell was instructed that he could not give criminal history information for Town Hall and City Hall requests during his recent re-certification class in August.”

Jones wrote that she told Salvatore that “I would have to submitted an additional criminal history request for all inquiries requested by Lt. Bunnell (to) verify the legitimate use of the COLLECT/NCIC system.”

Jones also requested all criminal history requests logged by Bunnell. It was then that the 38 requests came to light.

McDaniel would not comment any further on the investigation or allegations.

Eckersley would not confirm that there was an investigation, nor would he answer any questions.

Bunnell could not be reached for comment.

Around the state, the results of similar charges have varied.

  • In Torrington, former officer Hector Medina, was arrested Feb. 9 on 58 counts of third-degree computer crimes relating to unauthorized access of the Collect and ST Stop Stat databases. According to the Register-Citizen, Medina pleaded not guilty in March to second-degree false statement. A second officer has been placed on leave while similar allegations are investigated against him.
  • In January, according to the Bulletin, a 16-year veteran of the Norwich Police Department was suspended without pay, for misusing the COLLECT database and other misconduct.
  • A Madison police officer was fired after being criminally charged with accessing the database, according to the Bulletin.
theinformant May 01, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Safety59 You have a short memory. What do you think the Democrats did when they were out of office from November 2009 to November 2011? They filed Ethic Complaints against the opposing team costing taxpayers thousands. They constantly created havoc during council meetings to make the Chairman look bad. They wrote nasty comments on patch during the election. Should I continue? The point is this Mayor is not dealing with the problems properly, that’s pretty obvious. Politics is supposed to end after the election when you come into office. With this council and this Mayor it hasn’t. They are giving people enough fuel to build a big bon fire by their actions. So why not bring it to the people’s attention. Politics should be on the outside not the inside. Romney and Obama are already accusing each other of dirty politics. Oh by the way, how do you know what’s in that report, that you say, not even his cronies will be able to defend him.
J. Lincoln May 01, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Safety59 It is obvious to me, and other readers that you don't see the errors of his ways. In December 2011 a serious complaint against Bunnell by a fellow officer was lodged. Apparently the Mayor, acting as Chief of Police, is investigating. It is now May 2012 and nothing has happened. Why, he has had plenty of time. Early this year he signed a new employment contract for Tom McNally. Now has dragged the Town Council into an effort to fire him; a violation of the Town Charter. This begs the question, why sign a contract when the employee was on administrative leave. Now Lt. Bunnell has been under investigation for a serious matter. Why isn't he being treated the same as McNally. As all of this unfolds it is my opinion that Mr. McDaniel will be exposed for more then politics. As I stated earlier I can only wish to be wrong.
kimberly kirk May 01, 2012 at 03:57 PM
just sounds like a bunch of cops...complaining about their boss (the lt.). suck it up and move on! we have wayyyyyy more serious things to focus our investigations on. Lt. Bunnell is a stand up guy and has worked his butt off to get where he is today. I would like to see someone try and do a better job... NOT POSSIBLE.
theinformant May 01, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Safety59 Have you been drinking, because you’re slurring your words? I do hope you’re not working right now. Maybe you and the Mayor have something in common or you might work for him or maybe the town. What you say about the Mayors track record, honesty and integrity, definitely tells me you are drinking. Only six months in office, show me where is his honesty and integrity is so far?
J. Arrington May 01, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Informant, your statement make no sense. This is an unfortunate dilemma for Lt. Bunnell, but it should be put into perspective. Until the matter is fully investigated by the proper authorities, all opinions are inconsequential.
Fred Infantino May 01, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Egregious act?
Edward Jones May 01, 2012 at 08:06 PM
LT is a good man and he is the last of the old line cop. The guy who knew the difference between policing and harassing. What we need are cops that remember that they did a few things wrong in their lives and know when to lower the boom or call Mom and Dad as they will lower the boom better. As for Mayor McDaniel he is a fine man too, he has more actual training as a government administrator than many who have held the job. It is clear that we are seeing folks with a political or job related axe to grind commenting here. I know most of you probably and I find it disgraceful that anyone in politics would hide behind a pen nme to comment on Patch. Just to recall about the alleged integrity of some officers, the same Todd Lynch involved in the mess suing New London via the Police union I think is the same Todd Lynch involved in suing the Town of East Lyme and it's Resident State Trooper... VIA THE POLICE UNION! ..... hmmmmm what does this tell us about the Police Union?
joyce baker May 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Plain and simple bunnell did something wrong and the mayor just wants to keep playing the good old boy system, so hope it back fires on everyone involved Montville truly got alot of shady town officials
joyce baker May 01, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Then why is he getting investigated then???? There must be something worth their time to investigate him???
J. Lincoln May 01, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Edward Jones What "actual Training" has the Mayor had as a government administrator? Was it possibility being a maintenance man, a landscape maintainer or possibility snow removal. As far as his actual experience in government admin it seems to very little if any. Regarding the Lt. I have no problem with him at all assuming that this investigation shows nothing.
Edward Jones May 01, 2012 at 10:21 PM
No that would be his degree in Government Administration
Edward Jones May 01, 2012 at 10:23 PM
And J Lincoln... he ran a successful company that he started..... hmmm seems to be pretty good.... along with a degree in the specific field....
Gary Pike May 01, 2012 at 10:50 PM
We live in a town with a sex offender facility, and were not allowed to use a system that will provide criminal background information for someone interacting with our kids ? I understand the need for protecting people's rights, but not at the expense of a child's right to a safe environment. If the COLLECT database were used for a malicious or self-serving purpose I could understand, but this doesn't sound like the case from the details in the article.
Edward Jones May 02, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Because a disgruntled Union member made accussations would be a good guess....
J. Lincoln May 02, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Edward Jones Yes his degree is in Government Admin and as you may know a Masters in Municipal Financing. However Managerial Experience in Government is nonexistent. It's obvious, just look how badly the WPCA matter is being handled. His decision making abilities needs some serious upgrading. By the way, how successful was his business? Talk is cheap.
Edward Jones May 02, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Can't say but he made a living off of it for a long time... how about his opponents did any of them? He also did a good job as our Judge of Probate ( I used his services) I am not sure who you are so it is easy for you to snipe from the sidelines. What are your the credentials to pass judgement on a good man who has done good in our town? I mean really do we want to start talking about the fiscal prowess of his opponents, I'm game how about you....
Keeping it Real May 02, 2012 at 01:34 AM
So the State Police Major Crime unit is investigating Montvilles Top ranking police officer who is incharge of the towns police force for misusing the collect system.I would assume the Police lieutenant was sent to school properly trained and tested on the proper use and policies of the collect system. Lieutenant Bunell is in charge of a 23 person Police force of outstanding officers, whom he is supose to reprimand, discipline, and even recommend termination when deemed for not following policies and procedures set forth by his office, The Town of Montville, and The State of Connecticut. The Collect system personel found 38 improper uses of the system by this Commanding officer that they feel warrants a investigation. So by reading this article I would assume he must have knowingly violated the rules and policies of the use of this system being properly trained to us it, how would he discipline one of his officers if it were one of them. When one is sworn into a public saftey position remeber this: It is privilege to put the uniform and badge on not a right. You are there to up hold the laws set forth by the state and towns.
Keeping it Real May 02, 2012 at 01:35 AM
When this trust is violated, missused or abused, this sets a poor example for up coming officers and bad morale for all in the department making it harder for the officers working in the street to regain the trust of the people you are sworn to protect (the tax payers). For the sake of the town I hope there is not 38 more Law suits against the town for violating peoples right to privacy due to taking short cuts and not following proper policies and procedures.
Edward Jones May 02, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Well if he was indeed checking up on the perverts in the Pervert House... screw em and their "rights". About time the regular people took the keys to the assylum away from the inmates.
MTV Citizen May 02, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Mr Jones needs to stop making assumptions about a subject he knows NOTHING about! Making guesses and alleging that "disgruntled union member made the accusation" against Bunnell is absurd. New London & East Lyme Police Unions? What does Todd Lynch have to do with Montville? Nothing. Common sense would tell you that LT Bunnel would not be checking the "perverts" records, they are on probation/parole and that information was most likely already provided to the PD. The key word in the article is "audit" that would mean Collect at the State was checking to see if the Police were using the system correctly. It appears they found a problem with LT Bunnels use. I'm sure the Connecticut State Police will conduct a thorough investigation, hopefully the town won't get embarrassed again by actions of an employee.
Jon Maloney May 02, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Take them out behind the barn, line them up and shoot them. I think Mr. Jones would be OK with that.
Edward Jones May 03, 2012 at 02:23 AM
MTV Citizen so far all of this is assumption and allegations.. and I will again point out my name is there...I don't hide behind a fake name...like MTV Citizen. I will wait and see what the outcome is, but I still suspect a complaint by a disgruntled union member and will feel free to say so. I invite you to come and stop me from giving my opinion in any manner I wish. Todd Lynch is a symptom of Government Employee unions today, how many billions do we lose to stupid litigation and vendettas by the unions? Oh and Jon Maloney ...yes line the pervert POS's up behind the barn and shoot em... You can add the premeditated murderers to that list too.
Pete J May 03, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Lt Bunnell is a hard nosed cop. He runs a tight ship and this ticks off most of the young officers who have turned out to be a bunch of winers and rats. Hang in there Lt.
Pete J May 03, 2012 at 03:23 PM
How stupid can you be. Lt. Bunnell has not been found guilty of anything it's an investigation. It's called DUE PROCESS!!
Pete J May 03, 2012 at 04:13 PM
it's called "Due Process"
J. Lincoln May 03, 2012 at 06:29 PM
I will reiterate what seems to be wrong. I do not have a complaint with Lt. Bunnell unless he is guilty of an impropriety. The problem is that there in no consistency with how town employees are treated. Tom McNally an employee was placed on suspension while the town looks into his alleged misdoings. This is still going on after several months. In December Lt. Bunnell was accused of harassment of a female employee and the investigation is still ongoing. Meanwhile Bunnell is still working The Lt. is now being investigated for misuse of the COLLECT data base a second ongoing investigation. He is still working. My point is that Tom McNally has not been accused of any possible crimes but has been on paid administrative leave pending resolution. It appears that Lt. Bunnell could be held accountable for serious issues. MY QUESTION TO MAYOR RONALD MC DANIEL, WHY ISN'T MC NALLY BEING TREATED AS FAVORABLE? I believe McDaniel lacks severely in management skills.
Edward Jones May 03, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Well for me I know Tom and he's good man and has done a lot for the town. But Who does Tom work for...I think it is the WPCA. They are not part of the town but a Quasi-private organization like the Post Office. I hope it all works out for Tom too, and would like to see him be able to continue working.
Sr. Resident May 04, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Don't worry I'm sure it will get brushed under the carpet like everything else in the town ... someday someone is going to trip and there will be yet ANOTHER lawsuit ....
J. Lincoln May 04, 2012 at 06:30 PM
If you were tuned into the Council and Mayor over the past few weeks you would know that the progression was that the WPCA turned it over to the Mayor who for reasons unknown turned it over to the Town Council which has not made any decisions that are public. The Mayor did, while McNally was already on administrative leave, approve and sign a new employment contract for him. The appears a lot of shenanigans are being put forward while the Council is in executive session. This treatment of McNally is deplorable at best.
Ashley Thomas May 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Lt. Bunnell is one of the best guys I know. He has such pride in what he does and I think its horrible that the new younger officers are trying to ruin his career because he probably makes them actually do their jobs. I'm sure if you look into the careers of the officers making the allegations their records are probably less than squeeky clean. Stop blaming before all the facts are known, because the only people that actually know what happened are the ones involved not ANY of you outsiders.

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