NATIONAL NEWS

Connecticut officer submitted fake reports on traffic stops that never happened, report finds

Aug 24, 2023, 3:20 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Hartford police officer quit the force earlier this year while facing allegations that he reported a traffic stop that never happened to get an arrest warrant, according to an internal affairs report released Thursday.

Michael R. Fallon, whose late father was the chief of Connecticut State Capitol Police, also was accused of inflating his overall enforcement stats for last year, overreporting nearly 200 traffic stops that couldn’t be verified and claiming 31 more traffic citations than he actually issued, the report said.

A judge issued the arrest warrant in March 2022 for a man Fallon claims fled a traffic stop that never occurred. The man was never arrested, and the judge later invalidated the warrant after being notified by Hartford police of the false report, the investigation found. Why Fallon wanted the man arrested was not disclosed.

Fallon admitted to falsifying records, and the internal affairs probe substantiated misconduct allegations against him, Police Chief Jason Thody said. Fallon resigned in March before the investigation was completed, avoiding any discipline, records show. But Thody said the department notified the state agency that decertifies police officers about Fallon.

“The Hartford Police Department has no tolerance for conduct like this, and our process worked exactly as it should to identify discrepancies, initiate an investigation, and take swift and appropriate action when the misconduct was substantiated,” Thody said in a statement.

Fallon could not be reached for comment Thursday. A message was left at a phone listing for him. His father, Michael J. Fallon, who died in 2009, was the chief of the Connecticut State Capitol Police.

A Hartford police spokesperson said the department is working with state prosecutors to see if criminal charges are warranted against Fallon.

Fallon is the latest Connecticut officer accused of submitting false or inaccurate information on traffic stops.

Federal authorities and an independent investigator are probing state police after an audit said dozens of troopers likely submitted false or inaccurate information on thousands of traffic stops. The state police union has cautioned against coming to any conclusions about the troopers until the investigations are complete, saying more than 20 troopers already have been cleared of wrongdoing, and some of the problems may be due to data input errors and other mistakes.

A Norwalk officer was arrested year on allegations he submitted bogus data on traffic stops that never happened.

The investigation into Fallon was revealed Thursday during a meeting of the board of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, which analyzes traffic stop information of all police departments in the state. Hartford police, which had notified the board of the probe, released their investigation report later in the day in response to media requests, including one by The Associated Press.

Investigators said Fallon reported to superiors that he made 575 traffic stops last year. But the report said the department’s record management system showed he only made 380 stops.

Fallon reported that he issued 281 traffic infractions for the year, but the investigation found he only issued 250. Investigators also said Fallon submitted forms for 33 traffic stops that never happened, forms that were also sent to the state for traffic stop analysis. He also was accused of not activating his body camera when he should have several times and making mistakes on reports.

Fallon met with two superiors in January about discrepancies in his reports over the previous month.

“Officer Fallon admitted to the sergeants that he purposely lied on his activity reports to embellish his activities over the four-week period,” the report said. “He responded that his reason for doing so was that he did not want to disappoint his supervisors with a limited amount of activity.”

The president of the Hartford Police Union, Sgt. James Rutkauski, said Fallon’s actions were not defensible and the department’s internal controls for identifying wrongdoing worked.

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