City cop makes nearly $200K, investigation underway

New Haven Police Department headquarters (File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A News 8 investigation reveals that New Haven Police Internal Affairs are investigating an officer who was in charge of assigning extra duty shifts took home nearly $200,000 last year, much of that in extra duty work.

Our investigation reveals that there were several red flags involving police extra duty shifts and specifically the officer who was in charge of assigning them, Dennis Mastriano. Those red flags were enough for the New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman to call for an internal investigation.

Earlier this year, Officer Dennis Mastriano was removed from his job where he was in charge of assigning extra duty shifts. According to documents obtained by News 8, Mastriano’s regular pay was $62,638.29 last year. But in take home pay for the year– including extra duty and overtime– Mastriano brought home $192,733.10. That makes him the highest paid police officer in the city. Mastriano pulled in $107,103.91 last year alone in extra duty shifts.

Other rank-and-file officers in the department complained that they weren’t getting any extra duty work and took complaints straight to the mayor.

“A number of police officers had contacted me to say they were not getting the extra duty jobs they thought they should get,” said Mayor Toni Harp.

Many New Haven officers also complained directly to Chief Esserman. An Internal Affairs statement to News 8 reads in part:
“…the Chief’s Office received several complaints from officers alleging that the extra police work was not being distributed in accordance with the Union Contract. At the time of these complaints Officer D. Mastriano was assigned as the Extra Duty Officer.”

An Internal Affairs investigation is now underway focused on Mastriano. He was quickly reassigned to a different unit. Chief Esserman was out of office Thursday, but sent News 8 a statement laying out a timeline and actions he requested.

“Over a month ago, an allegation of impropriety was made…regarding the handling and assigning of Extra Duty jobs for officers. I in turn, asked Internal Affairs to investigate the allegation.”

“We’ve got to look into why that occurred,” said Mayor Harp. “What caused it to occur and if there’s any wrongdoing.”

While not going into much detail, Mayor Harp said the city will make sure there’s checks in place to stop abuse and favoritism of extra duty assignments. The Internal Affairs investigation is expected to wrap up soon, then it will be know if Officer Mastriano will face any discipline.

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