New Report on False State Police Ticket Records Raises Questions and Concerns

When the new state-ordered investigation regarding the CT State Police falsifying traffic records was released on January 31, 2024, we hoped it would shed new light on this statewide scandal. Instead, the more carefully we read this new report, the more it reinforced our concerns.

For years, Connecticut state police have been under-reporting how often they stop Black, Latinx, and other drivers of color and over-reporting how often they stop white drivers. According to the 2023 Racial Profiling Prohibition Project audit, hundreds of state police officers submitted tens of thousands of false traffic stop records between 2014 and 2021.

ACLU-CT has long been a proponent of the Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Act, the underlying statute mandating that the state collect critical data about racial profiling by police. We fought to get this legislation passed in 1999. We fought to enforce the act and make sure the required data collection actually took place, despite law enforcement resistance. But 25 years later, it seems like little has changed: widespread “inattention and carelessness” by police means that the data Connecticut has put so much time, effort, and resources into collecting may end up being meaningless. 

When the new state-ordered investigation was released on January 31, 2024, we hoped it would shed new light on this statewide scandal. Instead, the more carefully we read this new report, the more it reinforced our concerns.  

Below is a breakdown of areas we believe deserve far greater scrutiny. 


The report’s focus on intentionality obscures the real problems: tens of thousands of false ticket records and a complete lack of concern for accurate reporting of racial profiling data.

Given the governor’s narrow directive to focus the report on intention, the investigation was limited to only determining whether cops intentionally recorded false records about tickets. But intentionality is a tricky concept that’s difficult to prove, and ultimately, it is beside the point. Whether or not it can be proven that these tens of thousands of false ticket records were submitted on purpose, the repercussions of inaccurate and/or misleading data are real, long-lasting, and ultimately disproportionately harm people of color.

While it's true, as some lawmakers have said, that state troopers are not “data entry professionals,” police and prosecutors have told courts for almost a hundred years that the everyday information they record should be regarded as trustworthy–even when unverified. As a result, our government uses data provided by the police to, among other things, impose fines and to take people's liberty by locking them in jails and prisons. State troopers’ widespread "inattention and carelessness" for what they record, as the report describes it, is no small matter. Nor is the “inadequate leadership, judgment, and initiative” of those who used to head CSP, whom the report notes failed entirely to respond to the false data issues when they were first raised. The entire situation is an alarm bell to reassess the trustworthiness of all police records and requires a serious response and additional oversight.


The noticeable patterns in the false data records require further investigation.

There are 12 state troops in Connecticut, yet most of the data errors are concentrated in just four troops. All police officers use the same data entry system and receive the same training. If the issue is the data collection system or training, why are the errors not distributed roughly equally among all 12 troops?

More strikingly, the data shows clear racial patterns. There is an overreporting of false traffic tickets for white drivers and missing records for traffic stops for Black and brown drivers. If the false data is simply random mishaps and data entry errors, wouldn’t the racial distribution of those errors show less obvious racial patterns?


Some of the troopers flagged in the 2023 audit escaped scrutiny in the report and now serve as police officers in other Connecticut police departments.

The report does not meaningfully probe retired state troopers, even though some are now working as law enforcement officials at municipal police departments in Connecticut. For example, former state trooper Robert Hart submitted 1,350 tickets deemed "high likelihood" to be false by auditors. He retired from the state police and is currently working as a police employee in Essex, Connecticut, while drawing a six-figure state pension. 

The fact that some of the troopers who were flagged in the 2023 audit avoided meaningful scrutiny and are now police officers in other departments is a serious issue that requires careful review and potential referral to POST for consideration of decertification.


The limited scope of this state investigation leaves a lot of important questions unanswered. 

The 2023 Racial Profiling Prohibition Project audit revealed more than 110,000 unreliable traffic ticket records. The audit concluded it could not find records for roughly 26,000 of those records, while 32,000 had a possible tenuous match. For the 52,000 remaining records, it appeared state troopers entered the same traffic stop two, three, or even four times. 

The report’s limited scope meant it focused on 26,000 false records. As the audit found, the problem is likely far greater.  

Meanwhile, the report did not cover the topic of underreported tickets for people of color. It should go without saying that the missing records of traffic stops for Black and brown drivers in our state require a rigorous and in-depth investigation.


While we demand a more thorough investigation into all of the questions remaining in this scandal, every party involved should be able to agree that we must put measures in place to ensure that all data collection related to public safety in our state going forward is accurate and reliable. This can be achieved, as the report suggests, by implementing yearly audits and enacting legislation that penalizes falsified racial profiling data.

Until our state implements serious new measures for accountability, police records should no longer be treated as trustworthy by the courts. The police cannot proclaim they deserve hearsay exceptions–daring to say their records are unbiased and accurate–while simultaneously facing no consequences for routinely recording false, sloppy data. 

Our communities deserve serious and effective efforts to identify and eradicate racial profiling, and our residents require legislative solutions, signed into law by our governor, that will ensure false ticket records can never again be submitted by police in our state.