Reuben Ng

Hundreds of incident reports are missing from the New Haven Police Department, which has already resulted in at least 10 officers facing disciplinary action and one officer leaving the force.

The officer who has resigned over the allegations is Daniel Tilley, as listed in the agenda for a Tuesday meeting with the Board of Police Commissioners. According to the New Haven Independent, multiple civilians contacted the police department about two months ago to access incident reports for Tilley’s cases. It appears they were never created — as Tilley allegedly failed to record at least 225 incident reports over his two years on the force. Tilley’s actions have paved the way for an audit into the New Haven Police Department’s record-filing system, revealing an issue that goes far beyond a single police officer. As a result of improper officer filing practices and inefficient reporting software, the number of cases left unfiled is potentially in the hundreds.

“We are delving into the issue and we are taking it very seriously,” said New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes at the Tuesday meeting. “So far, we feel like we have a good grasp on what the scope of the issue is. A large part of it has to do with officers not doing what they’re supposed to do, frankly speaking.”

The issue appeared to extend to about 10 officers who had avoided properly reporting case files for years. The other officers did not seem to match Tilley in the number of cases they had neglected, but all face potential discipline. City Hall spokesperson Laurence Grotheer declined to comment, citing a lack of authority on the matter.

Many of Tilley’s unreported cases covered minor incidents but also included several calls about domestic violence, Reyes told the New Haven Register. Reyes said these cases had been reassigned to other officers, some of whom are pursuing arrests. According to the Independent, Reyes said that the Department has currently resorted to going through cases by hand, and will have to seek a different electronic system if the issues with their current software — produced by CentralSquare Technologies — cannot be resolved. NHPD spokesperson Sgt. Shayna Kendall confirmed the accuracy of reports from the Register and Independent.

Part of the reason why the problem went unnoticed for so long was because of these issues with the NHPD’s RMS electronic case filing system.

“Some of the restrictions that the software has itself [made] it very difficult and sometimes impossible for us to deal with any liability,” Reyes said on Tuesday. “We are doing our part to make sure we rectify this issue as well.”

The New Haven Police Department policy requires officers to submit an official report for each call they respond to. If a report comes in toward the end of their shift, officers have the option of flagging an incomplete report that will be picked up and completed later. However, if officers do not either submit a report or flag it, the electronic system makes it impossible to detect an unfiled case without the exact case number. Due to this process, missing reports remained undetected.

Currently, the NHPD is performing a deep audit of their records and practices. Reyes emphasised that he was working with personnel to “get to the bottom of the problem.”

“At the time, the matter is still evolving internally,” Kendall said an email to the News on Thursday night. “Once there is a resolution, the Chief will provide an update.”

The New Haven Police Department was founded in 1861.

Meera Shoaib | meera.shoaib@yale.edu