If the attrition rate at the Hartford Police Department wasn't bad enough due to retirements and transfers, stupidity and greed seem to be taking their toll also.
According to several sources, two veteran Hartford Police Officers may be added to the unemployment rolls any day now. Officer Will Smith has been the subject of much speculation lately as controversy swirled over a homicide victim that went unnoticed for hours last summer on Linnmore Street in the City's southend. Despite the calls for numerous gunshots fired, the dead body went undetected until after sunrise the next morning, when found by neighbors. Smith was one of the first responding officers in that case
The controversy that seems to be the career ender now though is over a prisoner that Smith released from his custody after arresting him. The suspect apparently had an arrest warrant out of Rocky Hill. Smith , according to sources, ran the suspects name and was told by the Dispatch Center that the warrant was valid and Rocky Hill wanted him and would come pick him up at HPD.
Unfortunately for Rocky Hill, all of this was taking place at the end of Smith's shift and sources said Rocky Hill didn't arrive fast enough so Smith released the man wanted by Rocky Hill.. It is unclear at this point if the arrest warrant has been served yet after Smith's "unarrest".Smith will most likely either be allowed to resign or be officially terminated in the next 7 days.
The next opening is a little more troubling. Sources are telling me that Detective Tishay Johnson is most likely facing Criminal charges over a scheme to deposit fees paid to HPD for Pistol Permits and other items into his personal checking account, essentially allegedly embezzling money for the permits paid to HPD. This was uncovered by an HPD investigation and was promptly dealt with by Chief Rovella and the HPD Internal Affairs Division.
In a conversation this evening, Hartford Police Chief James Rovella said that there are "Actually two parallel investigations, one administrative and one criminal" Rovella also stated there is apparently no truth to any comments that Johnson may have sold Pistol permits ,but that a full audit of Pistol permit applications is being conducted as a safeguard
Sources are telling me that an arrest warrant application is in the works. This investigation also has the possibility to expand into misuse of State dollars and possibly sales of pistol permits. The investigation came to light today after a HPD Lieutenant circulated a memo that Johnson was no longer allowed access to the Public Safety Complex at 253 High Street.
It just amazes me the thinking of these officers. Being a Hartford Police Officer is definitely a difficult career, but it also has some excellent benefits , especially pension and retirement. Why would anyone jeopardize their career over such ridiculous things when there are still large amounts of overtime and private jobs available for police officers willing to work.