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."