Posted on Thu, Nov. 12, 2009
Philadelphia Daily News
Corruption complaints have piled up against the Pennsylvania State Police in recent years. Here are nine of the more notable ones:
* Capt. James Murtin, commander of Troop N in Hazleton, is under investigation for allegedly using a state-police credit card to buy a satellite radio and directing state police mechanics to install and repair it in his police car, a state police supervisor said. Murtin also caught criticism in April 2008 after he allegedly yanked six uniformed troopers off a riot detail during unrest at Bloomsburg University to move furniture and do other tasks at his home. Internal investigators cleared Murtin in the furniture probe, but critics charge a cover-up.
* Capt. Willard Oliphant, head of the state police’s internal-affairs division, is cleared after an investigation for allegedly dumping his personal household trash in state police Dumpsters on a weekly basis for several years. Two troopers who brought the allegations [Snip]
* Lt. Rodney Witherite files a federal lawsuit against nine officials – including Oliphant and Murtin – and former State Police Commissioner Col. Jeffrey Miller, alleging that he was repeatedly transferred and harassed after refusing a superior’s order to use police computers to snoop on the new beau of the superior’s estranged wife.
* A Monroe County towing operator snags a $3.25 million verdict from a federal jury on claims that Maj. John G. Rice and Lt. David Douglas, of Troop N, improperly removed him from a referral list to tow vehicles. Jimmy A. Schlier, of Wreckers International, which also serviced state police vehicles, told the court that he got bounced from the list after he got in a billing dispute with state police over work he had done on state-owned vehicles.
* Trooper Mario J. Diana wins a $501,000 federal civil verdict against two supervisors, including Oliphant, who Diana claimed had secretly taped a phone call with him while he was home on medical leave in 2003.
– Dana DiFilippo