Report: Intoxicated Lebanon Cops Assigned To SWAT Duty

Print More

Courtesy photo

Scott Traudt is pictured on a commercial fishing boat where he worked before driving a truck.


Two Lebanon police officers who had self-reported they had been drinking were put on the front line of a potentially deadly call in which an armed man was holding a woman hostage.

The fact the officers, Nicholas Alden and Brett Quillia had been drinking was known to the Lebanon Police Department’s Tactical and Containment unit’s then-commander, Lt. Richard Smolenski. Attempts to reach Alden and Roberts were unsuccessful and Quillia is believed to no longer be with the department.

The revelations that Lebanon put two armed officers into a dangerous situation in which they were prepared to use deadly force, despite the fact they had been drinking, comes from a right-to-know request filed by Scott Traudt, the man who has been fighting the department for 16 years, ever since he was convicted of assaulting now Chief Phil Roberts during a 2007 incident.

Last month, Traudt’s conviction was overturned after he was able to prove the department and the Grafton County Attorney’s Office withheld exculpatory evidence about Smolenski.

“The Lebanon Police Department is in a horrific state, and it continues to be in a horrific state,” Traudt said.

Traudt obtained copies of the discipline records concerning the 2019 incident which show Smolenski was suspended for three days without pay in 2020 for putting Quillia and Alden into the TAC’s quick response team despite their drinking.

The suspension was later overturned after Smolenski filed a grievance through the union and took the case to arbitration.

Smolenski’s history of misconduct followed him as he rose in the ranks of the Lebanon department. He was disciplined in 2006 for carrying on an affair with an 18-year-old woman while he was on duty, and involving himself in a complaint involving the woman, according to records Traudt previously obtained.

Smolenski was fired from the department after he was charged in 2021 for allegedly stalking an ex-girlfriend. That case is in the Lebanon District Court pending trial. Smolenski held the rank of lieutenant at the time he was charged, and he was serving as the department’s prosecutor.

Traudt said Smolenski’s continued employment despite serious discipline issues illustrates the entrenched corruption inside the Lebanon Police Department. Smolenski is likely not the only officer with issues in Lebanon, which is why he was allowed to stay on and get promoted, Traudt said.

“You’re not going to get rid of anybody who knows where all the bodies are buried,” Traudt said.

According to the records, Quillia, Alden, and Smolenski were all off duty on the night of Aug. 3, 2019, when the call came in about a woman being held hostage by a man with a gun in the Quality Inn. The decision was made to call in members of the TAC team, and Alden, Quillia and Smolenski all checked in with the Lebanon Police dispatch. Smolenksi was more than an hour away from the incident at the time, and Alden and Quillia called in to report they each had been drinking.

Quillia told dispatch he had “a couple of cocktails,” and Alden said he had been “drinking heavily.”

Both men said they were OK to drive, and offered to come in and work logistics on the TAC team for the incident. Smolenki cleared both men to come in knowing they had self-reported the drinking, according to the Lebanon Police Department’s Internal Affairs report, as well as the arbitrator’s decision.

At the scene, Alden and Quillia did not work logistics as they had been told, they were instead assigned to the Quick Response Force, the armed team that goes in first to dangerous situations. Smolenski arrived a short time later and took command. At the time, Smolenski knew Alden and Quillia had been drinking, and he was aware they were on the Quick Response Force. Smolenski never told any other officer at the scene about the drinking, according to the reports.

The hostage incident ended when the armed man, unaware of a police presence, stepped outside the motel to smoke a cigarette. He was quickly surrounded by officers with the Quick Response Force, and taken into custody.

Traudt said it is time for the United States Justice Department to intervene and take over the Lebanon Police Department. Smolenski, and the way he was allowed to operate within the department for years, is enough of a red flag for the department as a whole to be investigated, he said.

Comments are closed.