Who’s guarding the guards?

Concern over the behavior of those who are charged with enforcing behavior norms on others has probably been around as long as humans have set up such systems. Capturing that conundrum in a single, enduring phrase goes back nearly 2,000 years.

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” is the question attributed to first century Roman satirist and poet Juvenal. “Who will guard the guards themselves” is the translation of his Latin interrogatory.

Its translation, in a contemporary Massachusetts context, might be: “What the hell were the State Police thinking?”

The 2,200-officer police force is an agency in turmoil, beset by what has been an ever-expanding scandal that threatens to undermine its credibility. The department has been reeling from ongoing state and federal investigations of overtime and payroll abuse and fraud that have already seen guilty pleas, federal or state charges against eight officers, and a slew of sudden retirements from the force.

Against that backdrop, it was reported this week that State Police officials have on three occasions since March, with the first coming just two days after a Boston Globe report on payroll records being hidden for years for an entire division of the force, sought to destroy payroll, attendance, and personnel documents.

A State Police spokesman said none of the records the department sought to destroy were the subject of any “outside audit or investigation.” Nonetheless, the state Records Conservation Board, which must approve destruction of such documents, turned down all three requests, citing the ongoing probes.

The department may have gone through standard channels, and the records may all have been old enough to qualify under state law to be destroyed. But let’s just say the optics of the request left something to be desired. That’s especially the case after Gov. Charlie Baker oversaw a shakeup of the State Police leadership and the installation last November of a new head, Col. Kerry Gilpin, who vowed to clean up the department and restore public confidence in it.

Baker said yesterday that the State Police “shouldn’t be destroying any payroll records, and they won’t be.” Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, Jay Gonzalez, said the records issue “takes this scandal to a whole different level,” accusing the State Police of trying to orchestrate a cover-up of misdeeds in the department. He previously called for Gilpin’s ouster.

The three separate requests to destroy records were signed by three different officials within the State Police. Who initiated each request and how they could possibly have not understood that getting rid of any records while the State Police is facing multiple investigations would only raise more questions about the integrity of the department and whether the moves were aimed at destroying possible evidence?

Corruption in a law enforcement agency is one of the most corrosive forms of wrongdoing society can face. There were already lots of unanswered questions about what was going inside the State Police. Now there are even more.

–MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

The state’s Public Health Council imposes new conditions on the mega-merger led by Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey Health. Beth Israel CEO Kevin Tabb said the conditions approach the “outer limits of what’s doable.” (State House News)

A Black Advisory Commission formed by Gov. Charlie Baker last year has issued its first set of recommendations, and Baker said he’s prepared to commit $10 million to skill-building and educational initiatives being proposed. (State House News)

The Boston Herald goes after quasi-public affordable housing finance agency MassHousing again, teeing up its $4.3 million annual rent bill for office space in downtown Boston.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia has been arrested by the FBI and other federal agents and charged with defrauding investors and using the money to pay for a “lavish lifestyle & political campaign,” according to the US Attorney’s office, which has scheduled a press conference this morning to address questions. (Herald News) Check out this in-depth CommonWealth profile of Correia from April, which has lots of detail on the corruption questions that have been swirling around him, and this CommonWealth piece from just two weeks ago on a campaign finance law provision Correia has been using to solicit donations for a legal defense fund.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, which oversees the ribbon of parkland running over the submerged I-93 through downtown Boston, may get $5 million in city funds from the proceeds of Boston’s sale of the city-owned Winthrop Square garage, despite a longstanding push for the nonprofit to become financially self-sufficient. (Boston Herald) CommonWealth did this deep dive on the Greenway financing battles back in 2012.

Columbia Gas officials meet with residents in Lawrence to hear their concerns and answer questions about restoration of service. (Eagle-Tribune)

Braintree officials have finally broken ground on a new community pool more than 55 years after a tugboat captain left money in his will which triggered decades of battles over where and how to do it. (Patriot Ledger)

A number of towns on the Cape and Islands are trying a variety of methods to boost attendance at town meetings, including moving them to Saturdays, serving food, or giving away beach stickers. (Cape Cod Times)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Fact-checking President Trump’s USA Today op-ed on Medicare-for all. (Washington Post)

The Clintons: How can we miss them when they just won’t go away? (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

James Sutherland and Lawrence DiCara say “ideological coattails” redrew traditional voting patterns and boosted turnout across Boston during the last month’s Democratic primary. (CommonWealth)

Republican leaders are pulling money and support from imperiled candidates around the country and using it to fortify a “wall” around about two dozen races to try to retain a GOP majority in Congress. (New York Times)

The conservative Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance sues to overturn a state law requiring the nonprofit to disclose its top five donors in any ads or mailings prior to an election. (CommonWealth)

Gov. Charlie Baker comes out against the November ballot question that would require minimum nurse-to-patient staffing ratios at Massachusetts hospitals. (Boston Globe) A new poll indicates 51 percent of likely voters oppose the question, while 43 percent support it. (State House News)

In advance of a forum on environmental issues with Baker and Gonzalez, WBUR breaks down where the two candidates stand.

Herald columnist Michael Graham says Baker is a great politician and horrible leader in the mold of Bill Clinton.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Republican challenger Keiko Orrall debate moving the Lottery to Boston and divesting state pension funds from gun manufacturers. (MassLive)

Democrat Lori Trahan and Republican Rick Green debate in the 3d congressional district race. (Lowell Sun)

Independent candidate for Suffolk district attorney Michael Maloney, whose campaign manager said in an interview last month that survivors of domestic violence were gravitating to his campaign, had a restraining order taken out against him in 2014 by his then-wife, who accused him of pushing her, throwing objects at her, and threatening her and her father. (Boston Globe)

The League of Women Voters from three town chapters says incumbent state Sen. Richard Ross of Wrentham “has refused the offer” to engage in any debates with his Democratic challenger Becca Rausch. (MetroWest Daily News) (Correction: An earlier version of The Download incorrectly stated to whom the League of Women Voters emails were sent regarding the status of the debates. The emails were only sent to the two campaigns.)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The stock market spun sharply downward Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 830 points, triggering a global rout that indicates even more sell-offs amid increased tensions between the US and China over trade. (Wall Street Journal)

Biotech is booming — and companies are dangling unheard of benefits in their effort to woo the talented workforce they need. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Check out this Red Sox fan who won twice: His surgery went well and, as he woke up from it, he was reminded that the Sox had, indeed, dispatched the loathsome Yankees and offered some strong words of joy — and schadenfreude.

TRANSPORTATION

State transportation officials meet with residents of Worcester to hear their ideas on how to deal with the problems at Kelley Square. (Telegram & Gazette)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

At least two people were killed as Hurricane Michael lashed Florida and Georgia and began taking aim at the still-recovering Carolinas. (Washington Post)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has an interesting podcast with Mark Abbott, the president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, who says venture capital investment in innovation and increased philanthropy are key to fighting climate change.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

In the wake of a fatal shooting, Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund says he wants to see changes at an apartment complex, including better tenant screening and security, which he says is nonexistent at the 500-unit complex. (Patriot Ledger)