BRANFORD — The Police Department has begun an internal investigation into whether rules were violated by Facebook posts containing allegedly “insulting and inappropriate” comments — including one regarding sexual orientation — by a town community service officer.
The comments by Community Service Office Paul Kenney, a retired New Haven police officer, have since been removed from the “BranfordFraud.com” Facebook page, according to a story on TheBranfordSeven.com online news site, which first reported on the investigation.
“We have been notified that Community Service Officer Paul Kenney has posted insulting and inappropriate comments to a Facebook page via his personal social media account,” wrote Deputy Police Chief John Alves in an email. “We have begun an internal investigation on the matter as the comments reported violate our Code of Ethics and Social Media policies.
“At this time, we have only identified the one previously reported comment that has a nexus to sexual orientation,” Alves wrote. “Pending the outcome of our investigation, the matter will be addressed appropriately by our agency.”
He confirmed that Kenney is the subject of the investigation.
Community service officers, who are not sworn police officers, perform a variety of non-sworn duties, including parking enforcement, directing traffic and public service.
The Branford Seven reported that the posts “featured homophobic terms and accusations of bribery directed at Planning and Zoning Commissioners in anger over the Parkside project,” which is an “affordable housing” project proposed by a private developer in conjunction with the Branford Housing Authority.
“Comparing a recent moratorium granted Milford on affordable housing, Kenney wrote that local officials ‘never even attempted to lift a finger to combat this like Milford and other towns. Just rolled their lazy, fat, gay and weasily asses over, took envelopes and let the out of towners and opposition minority party have their way to destroy our neighborhood and town!’” The Branford Seven reported.
The site reported that Kenney has posted on Cooke’s site “many times in anger over the Parkside issue, attacking a long list of town officials.”
The Parkside application, which the Planning and Zoning Commission approved with a number of conditions, currently is in court.
Cooke, in a recent post of his own on the BranfordFraud.com Facebook page, defended Kenney’s comments, calling The Branford Seven’s description of them a “self-serving distortion of Paul Kenney’s comments, which were clearly intended to express specific disgust with reckless and irresponsible actions by the Planning & Zoning Commission and nothing defammatory whatsoever.”