Charges to be dismissed against ex-West Haven cop accused of faking OT slips

April 4, 2019

MILFORD — A former West Haven police sergeant accused of faking supervisors’ signatures on overtime request forms won’t have a criminal record if he does 100 hours of community service and writes letters of apology to the city and police department.

State police charged David Tammaro, 50, with 87 counts of second-degree forgery last October after an eight-month investigation prompted by a letter from a retired captain alleged Tammaro falsified hours on overtime slips.

But a prosecutor said in court Thursday that an investigation concluded Tammaro didn’t get paid for work he didn’t do.

“Overtime requests require signatures from either the chief or the deputy chief,” Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Kalthoff said. “The allegation here is that those signatures were routinely forged by Mr. Tammaro. To be clear, however, there is no indication in this case nor is there an allegation by the state that there was any theft here.

“The indication is that Mr. Tammaro was in fact working the overtime that had been requested,” the prosecutor said.

Tammaro was in court after applying for accelerated rehabilitation, a diversionary program in which charges against defendants are dismissed if they complete a term of unsupervised probation.

Neither the city nor the police department objected to Tammaro’s participation in the program, but through a lawyer asked Judge Donna Wilkerson Brillant to make him write letters of apology.

Tammaro’s lawyer, William Dow, said his client was a family man who served the city for 28 years, and submitted supportive letters from fellow officers, friends and people he had helped during his career as a cop.

Tammaro retired from the department last year.

“Over the years he has been someone who has made contributions to the city of West Haven,” Dow said in court, characterizing the alleged overtime fraud as arising from “a tension within the department in terms of overtime that gave some impetus to the claims made.”

“No monies were received improperly, it had to do with confusion as to how the overtime was registered,” he said.

After reading several of the letters submitted on Tammaro’s behalf, the judge granted his application for accelerated rehabilitation.

“It’s obvious that you are well-liked in the community and you’ve been an upstanding citizen, aside from the issues you had to face with this matter,” the judge said. “You’ve helped a tremendous amount of people.”

She continued the case for a year, at which point the charges will be dismissed as long as Tammaro doesn’t get arrested again, does 100 hours of community service, and writes letters of apology to the city and police department.

Outside the courtroom, Dow said the forgery charges “were defensible, but best resolved through this process.”

“He gave 28 years of service to West Haven as a police officer,” he said. “Unfortunately, the internal squabbles and tensions inside the department resulted in misunderstandings about processing overtime.”

The city’s police commission promoted the department’s deputy chief to the position of interim chief Tuesday. Chief John Karajanis has been away from the department on medical leave for months, opening the position for Joseph Perno’s appointment as interim chief.