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Bunnell To Fellow Officers: 'I Am Now Forced To Retire'

Embattled lieutenant delivers a letter to police union members demanding backing by Friday, presumably the day he'll put in his notice, or he'll sue.

 

In a letter to fellow officers penned Monday, Montville Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell wrote that he is being “forced to retire.”

In a typed and hand signed “open letter” to police union members, the embattled lieutenant threatens that if the union doesn’t step up and help him as he faces the fire on the recent major crimes internal investigation against him, he’ll initiate a civil lawsuit against Local 2693C.

“I am faced with a decision as to whether or not to pursue legal civil action,” he wrote. He wrote that he has not received union representation and was shunned by the union local executive council and executive board. And he wants an answer by Friday. Patch spoke to Bunnell, who said he'd rather wait and "defer my comments until Friday."

Subject of state police investigation

Bunnell was investigated 

According to an early April letter from Lt. John S. Eckersley, major crimes commanding officer, Bunnell was accused of not following proper procedures for requesting criminal background checks on 38 occasions, between October of 2011 and January of 2012.

Montville Patch has filed an official Freedom of Information Act request for that report and we learned last week that the request is “being processed.”

Harassment probe launced last October completed 

Bunnell was also the subject of a discrimination and harassment complaint by Montville Police Officer Karen Moorehead.

Filed in October of 2011, Montville Patch learned the investigation report concluded the myriad allegations “generally happened.” Those allegations included instances of intimidation, including one when he allegedly initiated contact and blocked her from leaving a room after he'd been cautioned not to have contact with her pending the resolution of the complaint. He also admitted to making a comment about Moorehead’s breasts, and a remark that she should “sign (a document) like a good girl.”

The investigation was conducted by Montville Finance Director Theresa Hart and attorney Hinda K. Kimmell. The report concluded that Bunnell’s behaviors toward the School Resource Officer  while “entirely inappropriate,”  nonetheless “did not rise to the level to support a claim of sexual or workplace harassment.”

But Mayor Ronald McDaniel said regardless of the findings, it “will be all resolved shortly.” When asked to elaborate McDaniel declined citing the “need to keep personnel things confidential.”

Moorehead’s Hartford-based attorney Andrew Houlding said he would have to defer comment until he sees the entire report. But Moorehead must pay the town $250 to get it; $.25 per page, her attorney said, the report must run about 1,000 pages.

Taking “comp time”

Bunnell has not been at his desk, McDaniel said, because the lieutenant is taking “comp time.” When asked why Bunnell is also working special detail shifts including traffic and events, McDaniel said he’s permitted to work private duty while taking compensatory time off as per "the police union contract."

“He’s using up his comp time. He’s earned it and he’s entitled to it,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel declined to comment further on Bunnell's employment status with the town or either investigation.

"It's all personnel so I will not be commenting until it's appropriate."

Pete J July 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Lt. Bunnell I wish I know all the facts in this case. (We will let all the other residents answer those questions because they know everything) But, from what I have read you are getting a raw deal. I know one thing for sure my children are very involved in youth activity and if you were running these background checks to protect our kids from possible pedophiles or molesters and you are losing you job because of that, you should sue the union for not standing up for you. Every person who has a child in a town run program should say thank you. God bless you officer Bunnell and thank you
Mike Z. July 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Sorry that you are another victim of montvilkes poor leadership.
Wayne July 11, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I am sorry to see LT. Bunnell's career end in this way. Lenny is a good police officer and has worked hard for the people of Montville. To Lenny, there is life after the Town of Montville. You may be surprized how your health and well being will improve after leaving the position. Montville is a tough town to work in. Everyone is a political target and it seems that there are no limits to how mean and vicious the attacks get. Thank you for your service and please enjoy your retirement.
Lynda J. Jean July 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I truly wish that it had not come to this. Lt. Bunnell in MY opinion is a wealth of information and dedicated to the towns safety.
Jackie July 11, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I would like to congratulate Officer Moorehead....what she has done and finally spoken out about is very commendable and makes her an even better role model for teaching our children...way to go on standing up for yourself and not being afraid!! You are an inspiration to women!!!
Donna Jacobson July 11, 2012 at 02:33 PM
There are many components of this article that are concerning, but I question why the finance director worked on Lt. Bunnel's investigation? The finance director receives a salary of $89,990.00 annually from the town. Is she getting an additional stipend for her duties as an acting investigator? Is this duty in her current contract?
Cathy July 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Well said!!!
Cathy July 11, 2012 at 02:49 PM
There are reasons for the rules to check on people from that site so maybe who ever asked for these people to be checked on should find out the legal way to check out people instead of asking some one to commit a crime to do it !!
Mike Z. July 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I think when all the facts are out we will find that the Lt. Was doing what he was told to by the mayor aka chief of police. I'm sure after all his wrong doings since taking office the mayor will be investigated next.
Jon Maloney July 11, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I have no opinion on Lt. Bunnell and what he is alleged to have done. If indeed these alleged acts were at the request of his boss or other town employees and Bunnell did do the background checks he is deserving of what may come. However I for one have to believe that Montville has become a place that doesn't respect its employees. If they did what has happened since the last elections would not have occurred. You were warned during the campaign that what you thought you were voting for and what you got were two different things. Lies over truth prevailed and is now coming back to haunt us.
Keeping it Real July 11, 2012 at 04:16 PM
The Typical somebody is going to get sued. Anybody can sue anyone today. If the Lt. is such a good leader than why has he not admitted that what he did was wrong and oh ya, against the law. If that was any other officer I bet they would have been put on leave and fired after the investigation as others from around the state have, that did the same as the LT. just not as many times. Whether it was for the good of the town or not it was still against the law no matter how dumb it may be. As far as threatening a law suit against his fellow police and union members that is just another fine quality last ditch move of bullying and scare tactic. Its really makes me wonder what the other option the town gave you to resort to in your words according to the article forced to retire. It is easy to read the articles and make comments with out all the facts but one thing will always be true. LT you went work everyday and served the people of Montville to the best of your ability to provide a better quality life for them. You made it to the top post and brought the department along way finally with a new police station, and they can never take your accomplishments away. The town will move forward and so you will in retirement so enjoy it while you can. Good luck.
Sarah Mae Wegins July 11, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I don't know what has happened in other towns. I do know however, Mayor McDaniel does show favoritism to some over others. Another one of his fine leadership qualities. Their has been some digging around into his past and it appears that he may lack good qualities needed for the position he holds. Will follow this carefully and report back.
J. Arrington July 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Go away for a few days and wow! Things have changed in the last week. Most of the recent posts are about what the Mayor does after hours; not about the article. My understanding of the issue is that Lt. Bunnell was investigated by two different agencies: the town and State Police. That has been verified. Lt. Bunnell sent a letter to the police union requesting assistance. That has been verified. Other than those facts, everything else is supposition.

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