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Meriden Cop Shop Needs Nepotism Policy

Police Woes A stellar case made — and so far ignored — for a nepotism policy

Hartford Courant Editorial

April 06, 2012

Meriden officials have waited a long time — too long — to clean up the mess in the city's police department.

Lately they've vowed to wait a little longer — until the "independent" investigator they hired, Hartford attorney Thomas V. Dailey, makes his final report perhaps later this month. And presumably a federal grand jury looking into accusations of police brutality and other angles will have something to say in the near future.

Meanwhile, the troubles keep piling up in the long-running police scandal.

•Three officers recently have notified the city they intend to sue, claiming they have been targeted for harassment by Police Chief Jeffry Cossette and his allies because they talked to investigators about favoritism within the department.

•The beneficiary of the alleged favoritism — Officer Evan Cossette, the chief's son, who was recently implicated in a fourth alleged brutality incident, along with three other internal affairs complaints — has been on lucrative desk duty for a year or so, placed there by city manager Lawrence Kendzoir.

He's resented by some who believe his transgressions are met with light or no punishment because he's the chief's son.

•Now, on desk duty, Evan Cossette is making more than $2,000 per week, including $962 a week in overtime despite not working any extra shifts because of provisions in the police union contract. No wonder some of his colleagues are angry enough to sue.

The police department saga is giving Meriden a black eye. It looks like nobody, except possibly the chief, is in control.

Whatever results from the Dailey report and the grand jury investigation, Meriden needs to implement an anti-nepotism policy that forbids a father and son working together in the police department if one of them is chief.

It just leads to too much trouble.




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