"Frankly, it is surprising that [the police department] has managed to function as well as it has," DeVesa wrote in the Aug. 25 report to borough council.
DeVesa, a retired New Jersey judge and prosecutor, quit last month after two weeks as the interim police director because of the dysfunction.
Lt. Thomas Herron, who is now in charge of the department, declined to comment on the report. Mayor Rita Ledger did not return calls for comment.
DeVesa's report, obtained by The Inquirer through a right-to-know request, describes an atmosphere even more toxic than the one depicted in pending lawsuits filed by a borough officer and the mayor. Both allege harassment within the police department.
With a population of 8,000 and eight full-time officers, Morrisville sits across the Delaware River from Trenton. Its most recent police chief retired in December, and a search for his replacement is ongoing.
In his letter, DeVesa said the borough was experiencing a "growing crime problem."
Reached Friday, DeVesa declined to elaborate or to discuss other findings.
His report noted the following observations:
Officers lack supervision most of the time. And none have been disciplined despite the common belief that there have been many recent instances of "improper police performance." He did not elaborate.
DeVesa said it appeared that some officers might have been hired without background checks.
Some officers told him they had never seen the department's rules and regulations, which were issued in 1991. And two officers refused to sign a form acknowledging they had read them.
The evidence room appeared to be in disarray and might contain firearms and other property improperly tagged and inventoried. "There are, of course, serious ramifications if this is true," DeVesa reported.
The department is understaffed. Its aging fleet of vehicles includes a 2000 Ford SUV that DeVesa described as "no longer suitable for police usage" and that needed to be replaced.
At the moment, the department is functioning enough to keep the peace, DeVesa wrote. But, he concluded, "this good fortune cannot be expected to continue indefinitely. A police force that functions without proper leadership, discipline, and resources will sooner or later face some type of tragedy or catastrophe."
Victor Cicero, a former police chief who sits on the borough council, said Morrisville had some good police officers. But he said that DeVesa, in his conclusions, "hit the nail on the head every time."
DeVesa's report concluded that reform would require more money, expertise, and support.
"Years of neglect," he wrote, "cannot be expected to be corrected overnight."
Contact Ben Finley at 610-313-8118 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @Ben_Finley. Get more Bucks County news at Inquirer.com/bucksinq.