Harry J. Corbitt, Superintendent and
Division of State Police
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2252
Dear Superintendent Corbitt,
As the Chairs of the Assembly Committees on Governmental Operations and on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation, we are both concerned with the ability of the New York State Police to function in a way that is fair to all citizens, that upholds the rule of law, and that enables the public to have confidence in the integrity of the force.
We are writing to request information regarding the policy and general practices of the state police in incidents when an individual with a high public profile is involved in an alleged criminal incident. Specifically, we would like you to expand upon your statement to The New York Times that “[i]t’s typical if it involves anything that might involve a media event; it doesn’t have to be a senior official to the governor. . . . It could be a politician or a high-profile physician, anything that might pique interest in the press, because it’s a special circumstance.” [The New York Times, 2/24/2010]
We are seeking to fully understand the history, guidelines, purpose, and parameters of the current policy including, but not limited to, the date such policy was established and by whom, the circumstances that prompted the establishment of the policy, the internal state police procedures that were followed in designing said policy, the specific circumstances in which such policy been followed in the past, the persons to whom this policy applies, the guidelines in place governing the implementation of said policy and the scope of permissible inquiry by the state police in these circumstances. Additionally, please address the following questions: what are the circumstances in which state police officers choose to contact individuals involved in high public profile matters; does the fact that another police force has jurisdiction affect such decisions; and what oversight is exercised over the officers involved in the inquiry?
Given the seriousness of state police intervening in criminal matters over which they may have no jurisdiction, we would like to fully understand the protections in place to ensure the integrity of the state police contacts with private individuals.
Along with your response, please send us copies of all written guidelines and procedures governing the state police policy.
Because of the pending investigations into the incident involving David W. Johnson, Governor Paterson’s aide, and the victim, we are not seeking any information relevant to that specific case.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please contact the undersigned.
RoAnn M. Destito, Chair Amy R. Paulin, Chair
Assembly Committee on Assembly Committee on Oversight,
Governmental Operations Analysis and Investigation