Selectman claims state police not honest about Troop B plans
By Patrick L. SullivanSALISBURY — At a meeting of the Salisbury Board of Selectmen on Jan. 5, new board member (and former Connecticut state trooper) Mark Lauretano raised concerns that the state police plan to consolidate dispatch duties at Troop L (the State Police barracks in Litchfield) is just the initial step in a plan to close Troop B in North Canaan — a move that he said would have highly negative effects on the 13 towns served by Troop B.The state police have denied that they have any such plans. North Canaan First Selectman Douglas Humes reported to his own board last week that he had heard of Lauretano’s concerns and had sent an email to the state police. Humes read an emailed reply sent that day (Jan. 3) from Major Brian Meraviglia, commander of the state police Western District headquarters. The answer was that the only slated change is to move communications and dispatch to Troop L in Litchfield, as presented in a regionwide meeting last August. Meraviglia said there are no plans to close Troop B “now or in the future.”Lauretano said his sources in the state police had informed him that the plan is to close the barracks, despite what officials have said publicly to the contrary.The selectman said he had written to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on the matter, and asked state Sen. Andrew Roraback (R-30) to investigate. He said he also plans to testify at a hearing in Hartford later this month.Salisbury First Selectman Curtis Rand responded to Lauretano’s concerns by saying that State Police Commander Col. Danny Stebbins had told a meeting of some 22 first selectmen and state representatives that Troop B would not be closed and that the dispatching issue was a question of efficiency.“To me it would be stunning if they were lying. If it is a lie there will be hell to pay,” Rand said.Salisbury Selectman Jim Dresser said to Lauretano, “It’s also impossible to prove a negative.” He said he hopes that, when Troop B isn’t closed down after all, that Lauretano will not take credit for saving it.Dresser also said that Lauretano, when testifying before the Legislature, should identify himself as a private citizen and not as a selectman, representing the board. “You and I have no authority other than actions which are delegated.”One person in the audience at the Salisbury meeting asked why Lauretano should identify himself as a private citizen and not as a selectman when testifying in Hartford. Dresser said, “I’m not suggesting he not testify, but we don’t speak on behalf of the Board of Selectmen unless specifically authorized.”During public comments at the end of the meeting, one person asked what she should do about the Troop B issue. Lauretano suggested writing to state Rep. Roberta Willis (D-64) and Roraback as a start. Karen Bartomioli contributed to this story.