Last year, new Connecticut public safety commissioner John A. Danaher walked into an agency rife with controversy, infighting and back stabbing, says the Hartford Courant. Accusations of racism, lingering internal affairs problems, and retaliation by managers against troopers who had been whistle-blowers were some of the woes he faced soon after being sworn in. Now, Danaher, a former U.S. attorney, said he is slowly working to change the department’s culture by offering more support and programs to state troopers through education and long-term planning, including new infrastructure. “They need support, more staff, more information technology, he said.” We are going to work on all these things.”
Danaher revived the department’s clergy program, calling on priests and rabbis to help troopers better deal with the turmoil they face on the job. He also supported an in-house peer counseling program, which trains troopers to help their colleagues, particularly after stressful incidents, and has helped to establish a support program for troopers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families. Union President Steven Rief, who this year stood with dozens of state troopers at the Capitol and urged the legislature to make changes in the troubled department, agrees that things have changed for the better. He just doesn’t give Danaher all the credit. “Certainly, there have been some improvements,” Rief said. “But all of those were generated because of the actions the rank-and-file members had taken to get some relief.” The number of internal affairs investigations has gone down. There have been fewer complaints from members of the public, which Danaher views as an indication that the department is making progress.