The Civil Service Commission recently upheld a 5 day suspension handed out to Trooper David Wetteland for “misconduct unbecoming an officer”. The charges stemmed from a 2007 phone call Trooper Wetteland received from a stranded motorist on the Mass Pike.
Wetteland, a 22 year veteran of the Massachusetts State Police was assigned the duty of answering 911 calls from motorists after they were transferred from Framingham Headquarters. On the afternoon of July 24, 2007, Trooper Wetteland received two 911 calls from a stranded motorist. According to decision, Wetteland hung up on the caller during the first call and was “impatient, angry, disrespectful, and unprofessional” during the second call.
In a side issue, Trooper Wetteland was unsuccessful in excluding the recordings of the 911 calls made by the motorist to MSP headquarters. The recordings showed the caller to be polite, respectful, and calm. Trooper Wetteland attempted to characterize the caller as “belligerent, disrespectful, and unable to provide any information about his location.”
Wetteland argued that he was unaware that he was being recorded and therefore the recordings were unlawful. It is the policy of the MSP not to record calls made to a barracks, however, a portion of the first call was recorded before the 911 dispatcher released thee caller to the barracks. The second call was recorded because the headquarters dispatcher remained on the line due to the callers complaint of being hung up on by Trooper Wetteland. The Commission found no merit in this argument.