For what it's worth, here's my reply from the Commissioner:
"Thank you for allowing me to respond to your recent e-mail to Governor M. Jodi Rell dated March 23, 2005, concerning the way in which the State Police at Troop E in Montville responded to 911 calls reporting the tragic accident that claimed the life of Justin Sawyer. Everyone at the Department of Public Safety feels deeply sorry for the Sawyer familys loss and sincerely regrets the remarks that were made to the 911 callers by Trooper Robert Peasley. I also appreciate and understand your reaction to the Troopers handling of the calls. Please let me explain the actions Ive taken and the reasons for doing so.
After learning of the incident, the Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police ordered the Internal Affairs Unit to investigate the circumstances surrounding the 911 calls. Specifically, the Internal Affairs Unit was ordered to determine the specific order in which the 911 calls were received at the Troop, the remarks made by both Trooper Peasley and the dispatcher with whom he worked that day, and their actions in dispatching both State Police Troopers and emergency medical personnel to the scene. In doing so, Internal Affairs investigators interviewed every witness to the accident and all emergency services responders. The investigators also reviewed all available police and ambulance dispatch records and tape recordings of the 911 calls that reported the accident.
Internal Affairs investigators determined that, in response to a call for help, Trooper Peasley responded rudely and unprofessionally. When told of the street bike accident on Incinerator Road, Trooper Peasley said "too bad," and hung up the phone. In response to the next call from that scene, Trooper Peasley told the caller that State Police would respond and added "[you] shouldnt be playing games." About the same time, the dispatcher working with Trooper Peasley took another call from the scene and assured the caller that help was on the way. Importantly, the investigation revealed that despite the Troopers unprofessional, rude and inappropriate comments, both State Police and EMS personnel were dispatched promptly to the crash scene. Indeed, the reporting witness estimates that the first State Trooper arrived within five minutes of the accident. In short, the evidence shows that neither the dispatcher nor Trooper Peasley ignored the calls for help. They dispatched help to the scene within seconds of the first call.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Trooper Peasley fell far short of conduct that Connecticut residents expect and the Connecticut State Police demand from a Trooper. For that reason, Trooper Peasley, who has an unblemished 18-year career and who has often been praised by the public and his superiors for his dedication, has been suspended for 15 days without pay.
The State Police has a long and proud tradition of dedication to the people of this state. That tradition rests on the selfless efforts of many brave men and women who regularly place themselves in harms way to protect others. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so. This incident tarnishes that tradition and embarrasses this proud agency. At the least, we hope that we have learned from it and that it will not be repeated.
More importantly, our hearts go out to Justin Sawyers family and friends. And if the remarks of the Trooper have added in any way to their grief, we are deeply sorry.
Thank you again for writing and for allowing me to respond."
Leonard C. Boyle