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T police officers are suspended during probe
By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff, 3/11/2004

Three MBTA police officers were suspended after an investigation showed they were illegally checking background records to either dig up dirt on colleagues or track down addresses and phone numbers of attractive women who caught the eye of male officers, an agency official and two others who were briefed on the investigation said yesterday.

They said a lieutenant who allegedly encouraged the officers' activities also was suspended.

The probe could lead to criminal charges against the four, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials said, and more officers face suspension.

MBTA officials would not release the names or ranks of the four who were suspended with pay this week.

But speaking on condition of anonymity, the official and two others briefed on the probe said one was Lieutenant Nancy O'Loughlin, sister of the former MBTA police chief Thomas J. O'Loughlin, who now heads the Milford Police Department.

MBTA officials would not comment on Nancy O'Loughlin, and she could not be reached for comment.

In several of the cases, officers performed the checks while being recorded by the police department's emergency dispatch system, according to the three familiar with the investigation. One said that "a lot of the background checks were done because people had a personal ax to grind."

The three officers allegedly used vehicle license plate numbers to track down the names and phone numbers of attractive women they spotted.

MBTA officials would say little about the investigation yesterday.

"There is an ongoing internal investigation that concerns egregious violations of the department's policies, rules and regulations as well as allegations of criminal conduct," said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo, who declined to say more.

MBTA General Manager Michael H. Mulhern would say only that MBTA Police Chief Joseph C. Carter "has my full support. I trust his judgment. The actions he's taken are not only necessary but appropriate to maintain the public's trust in the MBTA Police Department."

Officials with the MBTA police union declined to comment.

"There's an ongoing investigation and no other comment will be given at this point in time," said Lawrence C. Culbert, secretary to the MBTA Police Association.

Christine Cole, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Public Safety, which oversees the state criminal histories computer system, said she could "neither confirm nor deny the existence of an ongoing investigation."

A spokesman for the FBI, which oversees the National Crime Information Center that provides background records, said he had not heard of the MBTA probe.

Some MBTA police union officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more suspensions involving six to eight other officers were pending, though other union officials predicted that fewer would be disciplined.

The investigation is the latest internal problem in the troubled MBTA Police Department, where relations between Carter and the unions have become increasingly strained. Carter, a former Boston police superintendent who more recently was chief of the Oak Bluffs force, was hired by the MBTA last year and brought in from the tiny Martha's Vineyard department to improve the transportation authority's police force.

Carter arrived after the MBTA police faced accusations that it used a zero-tolerance policy, created by former Chief Thomas O'Loughlin, to harass and arrest minority teenagers. That focus on youth crime resulted in the arrest of scores of teenagers on minor infractions, which prompted allegations of racial profiling and excessive force. Carter's hiring was meant to heal that rift, MBTA board members and officials said.

After taking the job, Carter said more officers would ride the system as part of his changes.

He also touted a new policy last year to divide the transit system into sectors, where officers and their supervisors would develop long-term community contacts.

Since then, union officials say they have been left out of Carter's new assignment plans. They have also said the transit police force remains understaffed, with federal money earmarked to improve the police force being used elsewhere in the system.
 

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Retired Fed, Active Special
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Oh darn it!
:shock:
 

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Chapter 90 Enforcer
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More problems in the "T" PD... a real shocker.

I have an idea to help reduce the problems - Pay them better!!! They pay is equal to if not less than state college PD pay.
 

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I hope the remarks are kept to a minimum. Any Chief from any Department may get some bright ideas from this and start suspending you from your department for simple and silly reasons.
 
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