Connecticut public safety officials announced the appointment of Daniel Loughman as interim State Police colonel this week following the departure of Col. Stavros Mellekas, who retired Wednesday as the agency remains entangled in controversy related to alleged false ticket reporting.
Loughman, a lieutenant colonel, has been with the state police for almost 18 years and recently led the agency’s Office of Professional Standards and Training. In a press release Wednesday, Loughman thanked outgoing Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella and his successor Ronnell Higgins, an associate vice president for public safety at Yale University.
“As Troopers, our first priority is public safety and during my interim tenure, I will continue to work alongside all Connecticut State Troopers to ensure that safety, trust, and integrity are maintained,” Loughman said. “Since 1903, the men and women of the Connecticut State Police have served with pride and reliability. I am honored to lead this agency.”
Loughman’s appointment cements, at least on an interim basis, a new leadership team to oversee the State Police. Rovella and Mellekas hand over the reins to the agency as it remains at the center of several federal and state investigations related to allegations that some troopers falsified traffic records submitted to a racial profiling prevention group, potentially skewing years of data.
The troopers were flagged in a June audit by the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, which concluded there was a “high likelihood” that some state troopers had falsified reporting to the board in at least 25,966 instances.
The agency’s response to those allegations and comments made by its leadership team during a legislative inquiry into the matter sparked criticism from the Connecticut State Police Union, which took a vote of no confidence in both Rovella and Mellekas back in August.
The union applauded Wednesday’s appointment of Loughman, who CSP Union President Todd Fedigan described as a well-respected leader with the necessary character and experience to lead the agency.
“This appointment will instantly provide the confidence and pride necessary to boost morale throughout the agency,” Fedigan said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ned Lamont praised Mellekas in a press release, which cited the outgoing colonel’s three decades of service.
“His commitment to public safety is to be applauded, and on behalf of the residents of Connecticut I thank him for his service and the many sacrifices he has made over the years to protect our communities,” Lamont said.