Newly appointed Inspector General former Judge Robert Devlin will take over all pending deadly use of police force investigations as of Wednesday, according to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice.
Devlin was appointed on Sept. 27 after the hiring process was stalled for a year while legislation was changed to broaden the field of candidates for the position of Inspector General. With the appointment, Devlin became the third Deputy Chief State’s Attorney but his office is required to be independent from the Division of Criminal Justice which encompasses the state’s prosecutors.
As Inspector General, Devlin and a team of investigators and attorneys will investigate all deadly use of police force incidents and in-custody deaths. It is unclear if Devlin has hired any staff or has office space set up.
“The Division of Criminal Justice believes reassigning the pending police use-of-force investigations to the Office of the Inspector General is in keeping with the spirit of the recently passed legislation and will help assure the public’s trust and confidence in the criminal justice system,” Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo said.
The division acknowledged that the transition will likely extend the amount of time that it will take to conclude the pending investigations which determine whether an officer was justified in using deadly force.
“I want to thank the State’s Attorneys for the considerable amount of work they have done on these investigations,” Devlin said. “My objective is to conduct thorough, fair and complete investigations in the most timely manner possible, while continuing to keep all parties affected apprised of the progress that is made in these investigations.”
Devlin, a retired judge who was the Chair of the state’s Sentencing Commission, was one of four candidates chosen in late August to be interviewed for the Inspector General position. The job was created by the 2020 Police Accountability law to place the investigations into deadly police use of force incidents into an independent unit.
The investigations were previously handled by a state’s attorney from a different district where the incident occurred with the help of the state police Major Crimes Units, which gathered evidence.
Devlin will assume the nine investigations that are underway, dating back to January of 2020, including an incident in Norwich that took place on Oct. 26 when a man allegedly fired on an officer who returned gunfire. The officer and the man, later identified as Andrew O’Lone, were not injured. O’Lone is currently being held on $1 million bond on charges of attempted murder and attempted first-degree assault.