Union leaders for the Pennsylvania State Police have asked the U.S. Department of Justice and the state Attorney General's Office to investigate alleged corruption by the force's bigwigs.
Officials from the 15 state police lodges, which represent 4,400 troopers statewide, voted unanimously last week to file a federal lawsuit charging supervisors with abusing the discipline system and retaliating against whistle-blowers within the department.
They are also calling on lawmakers to hold hearings in Harrisburg to uncover corruption.
State police supervisors have repeatedly pardoned misbehavior by bosses while punishing the underlings who reported them, police sources say. Recent internal investigations prompted the union's call for state and federal probes, including:
* Capt. James Murtin, commander of Troop N in Hazleton, allegedly yanked six uniformed troopers off a riot detail during unrest last April at Bloomsburg University to move furniture and do other tasks at his home. Contacted this week, Murtin said: "The incident was thoroughly investigated by our internal-affairs division and found to be not sustained."
* Lt. Stephen Barilar, also of Troop N, ordered an on-duty, uniformed corporal last month to go to Barilar's home and walk his dog.
* Two troopers reported that Capt. Willard Oliphant, head of the state police's internal-affairs division, dumped his personal household trash in state police Dumpsters on a weekly basis for several years. Oliphant was cleared; the two troopers who reported him face disciplinary action.
* Bill Slavoski, resident agent-in-charge of the Secret Service in Scranton, filed a federal lawsuit against Oliphant this spring, alleging that Oliphant ordered a probe of Slavoski that restricted his access to a records database. Oliphant also was fined by the feds last year for wiretapping a subordinate out on medical leave.
* Lt. Rodney Witherite filed a federal lawsuit in February against nine officials - including Oliphant, Barilar and Murtin - and former State Police Commissioner Col. Jeffrey Miller, alleging he was repeatedly transferred and harassed after refusing a superior's order to use police computers to snoop on the new beau of the superior's estranged wife.
Union President Bruce Edwards, Barilar and Oliphant couldn't be reached for comment, but one state police higher-up, who requested anonymity, said: "It's wrong; it's corruption. Any regular citizen who would do these things would be arrested."
Jack Lewis and Cpl. Linette Quinn, state police spokesmen, declined to comment.
"At this time, we haven't received any details regarding these allegations from the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association," said Kevin Harley, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office. *