The New York State police unit that protects and travels with the governor will be overhauled in an effort to ensure that governors do not exert improper influence over the troopers or compromise their security decisions, reports the New York Times. The overhaul comes after a year of scandal and tragedy for the unit, known as the executive services detail. The unit faced criticism in March after revelations that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had sex with a prostitute while traveling on an official trip. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo continues to investigate allegations that troopers may have been used to gather damaging information about elected officials.
The overhaul is intended to modernize a force that has grown over the decades from a small group of bodyguards and drivers into a 200-person operation that provides security at the State Capitol, at the governor's private residence, and at the executive mansion in Albany. The most significant change will end a practice in which governors personally selected the commander of the detail, a coveted assignment within state police ranks and a position sometimes viewed as more powerful than that of the state police superintendent. The head of the detail will be selected by the superintendent from among the agency's senior officers and will be required to have supervisory experience, among other qualifications.