Political interference and favoritism infected the highest ranks of the New York State Police for more than a decade under three governors, jeopardizing the agency's independence and plunging its leadership into political battles, said a report from state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo quoted by the New York Times. The report found no significant evidence of wrongdoing by rank-and-file state troopers, but it describes repeated instances in which top agency officials took actions to benefit political figures.
It laid out a record of inappropriate influence wielded by Daniel Wiese, a former State Police colonel, including an occasion when he assigned troopers to guard baseball player Darryl Strawberry when he was hospitalized in 1998. Wise commanded the executive services detail and became a confidant fomer governors George Pataki and Eliot Spitzer. The detail protects the governor, the lieutenant governor, visiting dignitaries and other elected officials deemed to be at risk. Wiese so frequently dispatched officers to other duties that State Police officials referred to them as “secret squirrel missions” and “colonel missions.”