Posted on Fri, Apr. 17, 2009
A Pennsylvania State Police supervisor fined by the feds last year for wiretapping a subordinate is again under scrutiny for allegedly ordering underlings to investigate the boss of the Secret Service’s Scranton branch.
Capt. Willard Oliphant, who heads the internal-affairs division for the state police, allegedly demanded that a trooper investigate Bill Slavoski, resident agent-in-charge of the Secret Service in Scranton, after learning that Slavoski had checked Oliphant’s vehicle registration on a law-enforcement-records database.
When the trooper’s 14-month probe ended, Slavoski’s access to the database was put on probationary status for a year, according to a complaint Slavoski filed March 31 with the state police. Probation is the first step in barring him from the system, according to the complaint, which the Daily News obtained this week.
Slavoski declined to comment yesterday, but his attorney, Don Bailey, said he plans to lodge a federal civil-rights lawsuit on Slavoski’s behalf next week.
The action against Slavoski is part of a pattern of state police bigwigs’ ordering improper investigations to camouflage their own devilish doings or to bully enemies, Bailey charged.
“It was an unlawful action; they don’t have the jurisdiction or authority to audit him,” Bailey said. “The Pennsylvania State Police is a place of favor-mongering, cliques and buddies, and they use the IAD [internal-affairs division] as a bludgeon. The Pennsylvania State Police needs to be thoroughly investigated from top to bottom by an objective third party.”
Cpl. Linette Quinn, a state police spokeswoman, said she couldn’t comment on internal complaints and investigations. Oliphant couldn’t be reached for comment.
The complaint comes a year after a federal jury found Oliphant and another supervisor guilty of secretly recording a 2003 phone conversation with a trooper who was on medical leave.
The trooper claimed that his bosses taped the call to trap him into admitting he wasn’t hurt and to discourage his workers’ compensation claim. Although the jury ordered $501,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, Oliphant wasn’t criminally charged with violating the wiretap law.