BOSTON (WHDH) — The chief of the Massachusetts State Police has elected to retire following questions about an arrest report that was ordered changed.
“The past few days have been difficult for the MSP and for me, in particular,” Col. Richard McKeon said in a statement. “We have always been highly scrutinized for how we perform our duties, as any police agency should be, and these last few days have been no exception. That public examination, while sometimes uncomfortable, comes with the great authority bestowed upon us, and we must always pay attention to how we are perceived by those whom we serve and protect.”
McKeon added that his retirement will be effective Nov. 17.
State Trooper Ryan Sceviour recently filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts State Police, claiming he was ordered to change an arrest report that involved Alli Bibaud, the daughter of a judge. Sceviour arrested Bibaud near Worcester back in October, charging her with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. According to the lawsuit, Bibaud told Sceviour her father was a judge.
Two days after he filed the arrest report, Sceviour said top command told him to erase vulgar comments in the police report that Bibaud made about sex and drugs. Sceviour said he was told the changes were “ordered by the colonel.” Sceviour’s lawyer said he was also disciplined.
A second trooper has since filed a lawsuit. Trooper Ali Rei said she was ordered by a state police major to destroy documents related to Bibaud’s arrest. Rei was the drug recognition expert who also responded to the scene.
Gov. Charlie Baker said McKeon never should have issued the order, calling it a mistake.
“I would say that his decision to directly invest in that initiative to issue that order was a mistake and those observation reports are going to be removed from those trooper’s files,” said Baker. The governor said he also ordered State Police to look at their own procedures for reviewing arrest reports.
You can read McKeon’s complete statement below:
The past few days have been difficult for the MSP and for me, in particular. We have always been highly scrutinized for how we perform our duties, as any police agency should be, and these last few days have been no exception. That public examination, while sometimes uncomfortable, comes with the great authority bestowed upon us, and we must always pay attention to how we are perceived by those whom we serve and protect.
Each and every one of you is on my mind today, as you have been during the past two-and-a-half years during which I have had the honor and privilege to serve as your Superintendent. We may at times disagree on how we do this job, but I have no doubt that the more than 2,000 men and women who put their lives on the line every day for the Massachusetts State Police are dedicated to doing their very best every day to protect the honor of our corps and the safety of our citizens.
Part of our code of honor is understanding when your own personal ambition detracts from the greater good of our mission. I have today decided that putting the greater good of the Massachusetts State Police first, necessitates my decision to retire after 35 years of proud service. I am honored to have served as your Superintendent and grateful for the honor of working with you. I am also thankful to the Governor and the Secretary of Public Safety and Security for the privilege of serving in this position.
What has been lost in the headlines in recent days is another part of the unspoken code that we follow — to do our jobs with professionalism, compassion and empathy.
You are counted as among the most elite police forces in the country because you have learned to balance the need to enforce the law with an understanding that those we arrest are people with real lives and aspirations who have stumbled. The lesson I learned early in my career, have lived by ever since, and have tried to impart to those I’ve had the privilege to command, is that you can do your job to protect the public safety while also understanding that even offenders are people who need to reclaim their lives and move on after they have paid their debt.
This is perhaps no more true than it is for those who have been victimized by the scourge of opioid abuse. We have fought the opioid epidemic on multiple fronts, including enforcement, treatment, and education. Illegal use of narcotics is a crime, and we never have backed down, and never will, from investigating, arresting, and prosecuting those who break our drug trafficking and possession laws. But opioid addiction is also a sickness, and as police officers, we stand tallest when we treat everyone we encounter with respect and decency.
This fellowship that is the MSP has existed for 152 years and our agency will continue to be one of the greatest police forces in this country. But it needs the good and conscientious work of each and every one of you who wear the badge, to demonstrate not only your ability to enforce the law, but also to understand that how you enforce the law is every bit as important.
Thank you one and all for serving alongside me. It had been a privilege to serve as your Superintendent.
The Massachusetts state house released the following statement on behalf of Gov. Baker:
“Governor Baker appreciates Colonel McKeon’s service to the Massachusetts State Police, is thankful for his commitment to the Commonwealth’s public safety and wishes him well in his retirement. The Governor believes that Colonel McKeon made a mistake by getting involved in the Bibaud case and has ordered the State Police to examine procedures for the review of arrest reports. Governor Baker recognizes the motivation to protect those with substance use disorders from potentially embarrassing information contained in their public records and expects the courts to hold the defendant accountable for all charges stemming from this incident.”
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