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Colchester PD Missed Early Warnings Of Cop's Alleged Crimes

Colchester Police released a set of documents this week that shed more light on the former officer who allegedly stole from the department’s evidence locker to support his heroin habit.

The documents include a review of all missing evidence, a narrative of how the case unfolded inside the Colchester Police Department and recommendations from outside investigators as to how to prevent similar situations in the future.

Colchester Police Chief Jennifer Morrison said the department was aware of allegations in June of last year that that then-Detective Tyler Kinney was using heroin and sexually involved with a civilian.

The department launched an initial review of the allegations to try to find out if an internal investigation would be appropriate, but that review “concluded that the concerned citizen making the allegation was not credible.”

At the time, Kinney denied the allegations and Colchester Police closed the review without further  investigation.

After Kinney’s November arrest, a review showed that the department’s evidence locker – which Kinney was in charge of – was out of order. Investigation showed that many pieces of evidence were missing, altered or unaccounted for:

  • $12,229 cash
  • One gun missing, nine of unknown status because they were related to cases more than 25 years old
  • As much as 1,284 doses of heroin
  • Four cases of powder or crack cocaine
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • An unknown number of missing pills

The investigation included interviews with all members of the Colchester Police, and he “was unanimously described as odd and quirky, known for making unusual sounds and constantly fidgeting,” the investigative report said. “He was known to sweat profusely and his hands were always shaking or trembling.”

"He was known to sweat profusely and his hands were always shaking or trembling." - investigative report

The report also said Kinney had  “no close friends and nobody that he regularly socialized with off duty” in the department, but that “[m]ost assumed he spent his off duty time with his family.”

Kinney reportedly said to coworkers that his sweating and shaking was caused by a medical condition, which is what allowed “two events, which, in hindsight, nearly everyone agreed were indications of his drug use.”

The first event happened after executing a search warrant in Burlington “where Kinney looked grey, was sweating profusely and was having problems catching his breath.”

The symptoms were so bad, the report said, that a supervisor sent Kinney to the hospital.

A second incident happened at a use of force training “where Kinney’s face again looked grey, he was shaking, sweating and at one point laid down on the mat and looked like he was sleeping.”

That report, conducted by an outside investigator hired by the town of Colchester, said the department’s decision not to immediately launch an investigation when they heard allegations last June “appears to stem from misguided faith in Kinney and a failure to seriously consider that these allegations might actually be true.”

The report did not address allegations of a sexual relationship between Kinney and the civilian.

The investigator recommended that department policy be changed so that any similar reports in the future automatically require internal investigations, and generally tightening protocols to prevent similar problems.

The review said that if "a culture of accountability, tighter evidence controls, performance reviews and tighter supervision existed, his activities as it relates to alleged tampering with evidence and personal behavior may have raised enough suspicion to warrant further review, thereby discovering his activities earlier.”

But the investigator ultimately blamed Kinney for what happened.

“It was Kinney who disregarded his oath of office, disgraced himself and embarrassed Colchester PD,” the report said. “It was Kinney, who chose to befriend an individual with a known criminal history, chose to use heroin and chose to support his habit by stealing the evidence he was entrusted to secure.”

Kinney has pleaded innocent to charges against him in federal court and is awaiting trial.

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