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Laid off state police lieutenant’s wife creates petition to keep trooper’s jobs

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SOUTHBURY - The budget battle continues and those in fear of the future with less troopers out in the community say, they are not going down without a fight.

Karen Montini is behind an online petition created Wednesday, "Reinstate our Troopers."  Her husband is one of 11 members of Connecticut State Police that received a layoff notice, Tuesday.

In just a day, the petition received more than a thousand supporters.

"They serve and protect us every day. who is there to protect them now?" the petition reads.

Layoff notices were given out to four lieutenants, two sergeants, five troopers, and a class of 79 cadets – who are not formally state troopers – are being deferred and will not be joining the ranks.

Montini's husband has been with CSP for nearly 19 years and was about a year away from receiving his pension before he got a pink slip. He is the commanding officer of Troop A in Southbury, responsible for overseeing six towns plus the highway from the New York-Danbury line to the Southington line. He also commands about 130 troopers.

Montini said the news of her husband's layoff was completely shattering for her family. The couple has two daughters.

"The rug just pulled out right from under us and it was just shock and devastation," she said.

While she understands layoffs happen with budget cuts, Montini said the state police are already short staffed.

"This is a bigger picture to look at, this is public safety," she said. "At a time when public safety is critical and being challenged every day more and more on every level, every street and every town."

According to Montini, other members of the force who have already reached 20 years of service offered to retire in place of those being laid off but she said that offer was rejected.

Connecticut State Police Union President Andrew Matthews said he asked Governor Malloy's office what would happen if anyone retires or resigns by July 1st, wondering if the cost savings for those people would count toward the number the state is trying to achieve. Matthews said the union has not heard back.

FOX61 reached out to the governor's office and a spokesperson said they are working to get answer.

"They are by definition essential personnel," Montini said. "When there's a storm, a blizzard, a huge catastrophe, a fire, the only people allowed on the roads or out there to help anybody are these guys and girls."

She said the goal is for the budget cuts to not include layoffs of Connecticut State Police.

"Give the public the protection they expect for their tax dollars," she said.

Montini has already written a letter to Gov. Malloy and plans to bring him the petition when it's gained enough support. You can find it here.