State Police back off request to destroy old payroll records

It was the most recent of several requests to destroy years of older records.

Massachusetts State Police headquarters.
Massachusetts State Police headquarters. –Jessica Rinaldi / Globe Staff

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts State Police say they’re backing off efforts to destroy years of audit and payroll records.

State police last month sent the secretary of state’s office a request to allow for the destruction of 12 boxes of records — including detail assignment and roster assignment payroll records — covering the years 2009-2012 for Troop F based at Logan Airport.

It was the most recent of several requests to destroy years of older payroll records.

A state police spokesman said the records fell within state guidelines for destruction and weren’t part of any current outside investigation or audit. Police officials say they now plan to retain the records citing ongoing probes into overtime abuse within the department.

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State and federal investigators have charged multiple troopers as part of the investigations.

WBUR reported Wednesday the state police sought to destroy more than 160 boxes of documents tracking payroll, detail assignments, attendance and personnel records some dating back as far as 26 years in the months since the overtime investigations began.

State police spokesman Dave Procopio said there was nothing nefarious about the requests due to the age of the documents, but said the agency has decided to back off.

“None of the records in question have been destroyed and in light of current ongoing investigations pertaining to similar records, the state police will retain past payroll records until further notice,” Procopio said in a statement.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez said Wednesday that the agency was “attempting to cover-up widespread corruption and fraud relating to payroll and overtime payment.”

He said Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has yet to hold anyone accountable for overtime abuses at the state police.

At a debate with Gonzalez on Tuesday, Baker said the administration has responded, including disbanding Troop E, which had been linked to the alleged fraud.

“We discovered it. We pursue it. And we ended it,” Baker said.

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