:wm: Home > News & Opinion > Local / Regional News > RSS Feed Troubled trooper academy postpones upcoming class By Michele McPhee Friday, January 27, 2006 - Updated: 12:56 AM EST A State Police Academy class slated to begin next month has been temporarily postponed, not long after a four-month probe into hazing allegations uncovered that seven instructors at the New Braintree facility may have abused some 40 recruits, the Herald has learned. A class of 140 troopers was slated to begin training at the academy on Feb. 6. But that class has been postponed until the spring, said Lt. Sharon Costine, state police spokeswoman. Costine insisted the delay was not the result of the probe into the hazing allegations, first reported in the Herald last year. After the reports, Col. Tom Robbins ordered transfers of the commandant and two instructors while appointing a panel to overhaul police academy practices. “One has absolutely nothing to do with the other,” Costine said. “The application process of potential recruits is still ongoing.” But a source familiar with the completed probe said a total of 42 recruits from last year’s class complained of harassment or unprofessional conduct at the facility and seven instructors were fingered. Reports of abuse included instructors forcing recruits’ heads into toilets and refusing to let them bathe. Another recruit dropped out of the academy after he was ordered to wear another man’s soiled underwear on his head, a demand he refused. Others left after they were forced to drink gallons of water before running. Those allegations were among the complaints vetted by the State Police Internal Affairs Unit, which finished its probe this month, Costine said. She refused to discuss the Internal Affairs Unit’s findings. “It is our practice we do not comment on specific information involving personnel investigations,” she said. “The investigation has been completed and turned in to the commanding officer of the Division of Standards and Training for review. They will make the determination as to whether of not disciplinary action is warranted.” The three instructors already transferred from the academy continue to work in other sections of the state police, Costine said. Lt. Richard Lane is currently assigned to the Air Wing Section after his transfer on Oct. 20. Trooper Erik Baldwin is assigned to the Sturbridge barracks, while Trooper Paul Weinshchenk is assigned to the Grafton barracks.