The Day

Old Saybrook chief didn’t follow through on decertific­ation

Officer targeted in inquiry last summer has not yet been placed on national database used to trace police misconduct


Last summer, a department investigat­ion found evidence Officer Tyler Schulz had sex while on duty, was “untruthful under oath” and tampered with his GPS equipment to conceal his whereabout­s.

Old Saybrook’s police chief never followed through on his pledge to seek decertific­ation of an officer who resigned amid troubling allegation­s six months ago, reducing the barriers the officer would face if he applies for jobs in other states.

“This is just another example of how we can’t continue to expect police to police themselves,” said Claudine Constant, the public policy and advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticu­t. “The fact that the police department didn’t pursue (decertific­ation), again, shows that they’re only interested in protecting themselves rather than protecting the public.”

Last summer, a department investigat­ion found evidence Officer Tyler Schulz had sex while on duty, was “untruthful under oath” and tampered with his GPS equipment to conceal his whereabout­s.

Schulz was already on thin ice with the department after previous misconduct, including an arrest in connection with his off-duty involvemen­t in a fight at a restaurant, though the charge against him was dropped.

Chief Michael Spera told the town’s police commission about the latest allegation­s in a letter on Aug. 3, saying the town had reached an agreement for Schulz to resign, effective Aug. 5; the deal included a controvers­ial promise by the town to do what it could to keep further details about the latest allegation­s a secret.

Spera also told the town’s police commission in that letter that he would submit a request to the state’s Police Officer Standards & Training Council (POST) to decertify Schulz.

But as of Jan. 27, POST officials said they had not received a request to decertify Schulz. A council official said POST cannot act to decertify an officer on its own; a department must formally request decertific­ation.

Records show Spera did notify state officials in mid-October that Schulz had resigned while under investigat­ion.

That move should prevent Schulz from being hired by another law enforcemen­t agency in Connecticu­t.

State law prohibits law enforcemen­t agencies from hiring officers who were “dismissed for malfeasanc­e or other serious misconduct” or who left while under investigat­ion for such behavior. Schulz is now on a list of officers ineligible for employment at other Connecticu­t agencies, an official with the Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection, which oversees POST, said in an email.

But because Schulz has not been decertifie­d, POST will not submit the allegation­s against him to a national database law enforcemen­t agencies use to track police misconduct.

POST enters informatio­n about officers who are decertifie­d in Connecticu­t into a national database, called the National Decertific­ation Index. Law enforcemen­t agencies nationwide check the database before they hire officers to see if they were decertifie­d in another state.

POST, however, does not enter informatio­n into the database about Connecticu­t officers who — like Schulz — resigned under investigat­ion, according to Karen Boisvert, POST’s academy administra­tor.

Constant from the ACLU described decertific­ation as “one way to make extra sure that a police employee with a history of abuse and violence can’t be hired in CT or anywhere else in the country.”

“That measure is there for a reason,” she added.

Emails requesting comment from Spera were not returned by midday Friday.

When asked recently for a request for comment for a previous story, Schulz told a reporter he would have her arrested if she contacted him again.

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