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Mayor: Police Lieutenant Being Kept Away From State Database

McDaniel says Bunnell can do his job without law enforcement, criminal background data from state system.

 

Patch’s confirmation that state police found Lt. Leonard Bunnell guilty of improperly accessing a state computer database raised concerns about the in the company of the very system he was found to have abused.

But Mayor Ronald McDaniel said “every arrangement has been made to make sure he is not in contact with (the computer database) and any information (from the database.”

“He’s not using it. He’s not around it. It’s isolated, away from him,” he said.

A found  and the facts and circumstances support the determination that (Bunnell’s) actions were contrary to existing policy.”

The investigation the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing System that allows users to access state and national information about people and find motor vehicle and criminal history data on the national and international level.

“He’s under orders from me, from the state,” McDaniel said. “His COLLECT privileges have been suspended by the state, he doesn’t have the permissions to get on.”

In fact, Montville Patch obtained a May memo to state police sergeants, troopers and dispatchers cautioning them that Bunnell was forbidden from accessing the database. But not just the database, but any information including hard copy reports. And he was precluded from "calling in" for any information. 

When a reporter asked McDaniel how a commanding police officer can function as one without having access to law enforcement information like criminal background data, McDaniel said he “can do his job anyway.”

“His job is as the administrative officer. He does scheduling, budgets, community policing. He doesn’t need to have any of that kind of (data found on a criminal database) to do his job.”

Losing COLLECT?

There has been concern expressed about the possibility of losing access to COLLECT given Bunnell returned to work. McDaniel said he couldn’t equivocally assure that the town would not lose access to COLLECT with Bunnell still on the job.  And that concern even more pressing as the public safety building nears completion. The building contains a large dispatch center designed as a regional center. The town is banking on other communities signing on with Montville as the regional dispatcher, but without COLLECT, that hope may be in jeopardy.

“I can’t state with absolute certainty it won’t be (an issue). I’m waiting to find out,” he said.

State COLLECT officer Joan Hilliard told Patch she was not permitted to speak about Bunnell and suggested a reporter contact state police public information officer Lt. Paul Vance.

Last month Vance suggested Patch file a Freedom of Information Act request for case information, which was done, although a staff attorney said "it might take awhile" to get that file. 

Meanwhile, McDaniel said he has not made a decision on what discipline or punishment he'll hand down to Bunnell for the veteran police officer’s actions.

“I’m waiting for more information from the state before I finalize my decision,” he said. Bunnell had his of the story.” 

The other investigation

Bunnell was also the subject of a 7-month sexual harassment and workplace discrimination investigation after complaints were lodged by Montville Police School Resource Officer Karen Moorehead. In that case, an investigator determined the allegations "generally happened," including inappropriate comments about Moorehead’s breasts and intimidation, but it was deemed the instances, while "inappropriate ...did not rise to the level” of workplace and sexual harassment and discrimination.

Karen F. August 03, 2012 at 11:42 AM
What a joke. Our mayor is going to lose any chance of a regional dispatch center because he wants to take care of his pal. There is no way he can do his job when he can not even review reports. He should not even be allowed a uniform and car. After all he could be driving around and see a crime but can't stop the car because he can't run the plate to see if the person is a fugitive. Stop the madness recall the mayor quick.
Charlene Benjamin August 03, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Shouldn't we hold off punishment as long as we held off giving accomadations?! What was it 10 years or more! The town of Montville should be ashamed of itself for believing everything it reads instead of this mans career record! He has been serving this community for the better part of his life and if it wasn't for his hard work and leadership we wouldn't even be discussing the new public safety building! I can help but wonder too if the mayorisnt holding off punishment because he knows there is more to this story than is being repoted. Remember people this is a man who has served your community well over the years you can't even begin to know how much and you are ready to hang him out to dry without all the facts and because some cowards don't have what it takes to tell the truth!
Dennis R. Monahan, Sr. August 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Charlene, You could not be more right. There is a lot more to this story than is being reported. Lieutenant Bunnell is a dedticated police officer who has served our community for over 30 years. He does not deserve this kind of treatment.
Dennis R. Monahan, Sr. August 03, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Sorry, I misspelled dedicated
Kim Nahass August 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM
The facts are the facts. He misused the computer. Regardless of who told him to do it, regardless of how nice he is or regardless of what he has done for the town you break a rule you get punished. Do cops who pull over a speeder say he looks like a nice guy so no ticket? No! Lenny should be held to the highest standard he is a high ranking cop. Failure to do do makes a mockery of the position of police officer.
Always wondering August 03, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I am amazed, based on the comments I have read, that to some in this town it appears that it will be perfectly fine that taxpayers approved a new public safety building in which the public safety officials (ie police officers and dispatchers) will be unable to make use of all its capabilities. Without COLLECT in the new facility the hope of other towns joining with Montville to make a regional center may be in jeopardy. The mayor seems to be thumbing his nose at the taxpayers that approved this building with this purpose in mind! "I can't state with absolute certainty it won't be an issue" is the mayors response. I would think if the inability to use COLLECT were an issue at all there would be a great deal of concern, considering this was much of the reason WHY this new building was approved. It appears to me as though the mayor is not too concerned about the future of Montville as a town, but more about that of one man, who clearly has violated the law.
lion king August 03, 2012 at 03:00 PM
if there is more to the story than maybe mr bunnell needs to stand up and tell the rest of the story ,until than he should not be in a police uniform let alone a police car ,,,,,,,
Jay Ross August 03, 2012 at 03:20 PM
It truly doesn't matter how nice LT Bunnell is or how much good he has done, what matters is the amount of harm he is doing now and can do if allowed to continue. The Town sold this public safety complex (that only LT Bunnell worked for, NOT) to us tax payers saying it’ll be a regional dispatch center and will generate money. Not without the collect system! If we’re not going hold LT Bunnell to a higher standard because he is supposed to uphold the laws, then how about at least holding him to the same standard as an ordinary citizen. State Police said there is sufficient evidence to show that he did violate collect policy 38 times, you and I would have been arrested. The town investigation found that he “generally” harassed and intimidated a female employee, you and I would have been fired. I probably shouldn’t have used my last name, one can use collect to find out where you live and what you drive ya know.
Jay Ross August 03, 2012 at 03:29 PM
All of the hard work that (everyone!!) on the new building project did will be for not if it can not be used to its fullest. No collect system = just a 6 million dollar place to hang out at.
Carol Burgess August 03, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Before we all get worked up about what-if, why don't we let the system work? Lt. Bunnell had the opportunity to tell whatever may be the whole story in the course of his disciplinary hearing. Now the town officials have to decide on what the discipline will be, taking into account all the information. Then Lt. Bunnell and the union can grieve the discipline if they do not think it is fair. If that happens there will be hearings to resolve the grievance. Even though we may not like it, due process takes time.
bonita L. brown August 03, 2012 at 06:54 PM
What is wrong with this picture? Bunnel should have the right to check all back ground checks, to protect the people of montville. Why are we doing this to him????
Jay Ross August 03, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Mrs. Brown it would be nice if it was that simple, but then again if it we wouldnt be having this conversation. down playing does work either
Jay Ross August 03, 2012 at 08:30 PM
There are systems in place that allow the town to “properly” check the background of those people teaching and or interacting with our children. We don’t need a renegade cop doing it on his own, and now, the town runs the chance of losing the very system used to safeguard our children. If the town loses the collect system then I’m to assume we lose background checks. If LT Bunnell was using the system for the right reasons then he surely would have followed the proper process. By not following the proper process (which is there to prevent misuse) shows his desire to mislead those who entrusted him.
lee August 04, 2012 at 01:44 AM
rules are rules.Some of the Montville constables are the first ones to give you a ticket or arrest you if you break a rule. They don't care how nice you are or what you do for your town, or anyone else. I also remember Officer Bunnell when he wasn't such a nice officer.
ewm August 04, 2012 at 05:53 AM
The mayor must make a desision or resign or stay out his after hours place where he makes his plans with his cronies maple ave and the taco place. your friends will drage you down, and when a former police officer get involved watch out. life long resident
Donna Jacobson August 04, 2012 at 01:07 PM
This employee matter must get under control. It's unacceptable when the mayor says, "he couldn’t equivocally assure that the town would not lose access to COLLECT with Bunnell still on the job." The town has waited over 20 years to have a new public safety building and we should not be held hostage by the State of Connecticut about the COLLECT system. To my knowledge, no other town has been threatened with the loss of use due to a town employee matter. Get a backbone Ron, tell the State to back-off, deal with what ever disciplinary action is appropriate for Lt. Bunnell,and end this charade before your inaction costs even more to the town.
lion king August 04, 2012 at 02:38 PM
nice to know if you are a wanted felon you may be able to travel around montville and get pulled over and walk away ,
lee August 04, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Jeez, Officer Bunnell is not the only cop in Montville. If you want to keep him, put him behind a desk to do paperwork or use him as a dispatcher. No one likes to answer the phones down there anyway. He does a good job directing traffic. There are enough cops left to get on with business & use the data base. It really shouldn't be that difficult to figure out.
Sam Rogers August 07, 2012 at 02:27 AM
"Unacceptable" to whom, Ms. Jacobson? The mayor appears to have given an honest answer, based on what he knows at this time to be true. Are we to infer from your comment that if you were in his place, you would have thought it better to make an untrue or unfounded statement instead? Oh, wait a minute, I forgot. The 14 years worth of back taxes. The town foreclosure lawsuit you claimed was never filed, despite court documents to the contrary. The explanation that it was all because you were too kind-hearted to kick out a tenant who wouldn't pay his rent - who then showed up as your biggest campaign contributer in the quarter before the election you lost to Mayor McDaniel. Sorry, forget what I said about statements based on facts....
Sam Rogers August 07, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Lee, You apparently missed the part of the article that states that McDaniel said he “can do his job anyway.” “His job is as the administrative officer. He does scheduling, budgets, community policing. He doesn’t need to have any of that kind of (data found on a criminal database) to do his job.” Apaprently it really wasn't that difficult for the Mayor to figure out.
Sam Rogers August 07, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Or, maybe it's equally possible that we'll "lose any chance of a regional dispatch center" because no police officer or elected official in any of the surrounding towns will want anything to do with the Montville constable who ratted out Bunnell for reasons of self-aggrandizement and/or union politics.
lee August 08, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Touche, Mr. Rogers, I guess I did miss the part about him doing all those things. So why all the tears about him not being able to use the data base.
Kelly S. August 08, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Sam your an ...... well never mind. Your just rude. You need to stick to the story and if you ever had useful commentary then write. All you do is bring up old news and trash anyone who is not a democrat. I for one am tired of your antics. If I were you I would use your time more wisely for the good of the community. My guess is your not married because your just mean but if your are tell your wife I'm sorry for me.
Donna Jacobson August 08, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Mr. Rogers, I believe that Lt. Bunnell is suffering due to this lengthy process. I believe that Thomas McNally is suffering due to his dismissal. I believe that Officer Karen Moorehead is suffering due to the lengthy process of her claims and subsequent investigation. As to your reference Mr. Liebig when he was renting from me, how dare you attack a dying man and his honor. Heiner, as he is known around town, has been my spiritual father since I was thirteen years old when he led me to the Lord. He is a good, kind, and decent man who has never said a harsh word against anyone. Mr. Rogers, you should be ashamed of yourself and your statements.

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