Shooting at elementary school in Connecticut

Members of the press crowd around State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance on Dec. 15, a day after the Sandy Hook school slayings. (Brad Horrigan / Hartford Courant / December 15, 2012)

The Newtown shooting investigation has exposed state law enforcement's contempt for the public and a striking lack of leadership from the governor's office.

State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky has delayed releasing the report on one of the worst crimes in Connecticut's history, in which Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and seven women before killing himself. The delay has fueled conspiracy theorists and consternation from a puzzled public, which is fed scraps of second-hand information as law enforcement discusses details with colleagues elsewhere, but not state residents.

Apparently taxpayers are not entitled because they aren't criminal justice insiders, even though they are footing the bill for the investigation and investigators.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy objected in March to State Police Col. Danny Stebbins' speech to a roomful of police chiefs gathered in New Orleans that divulged aspects of the crime withheld from state residents.

But Mr. Malloy has refrained from criticizing the slow pace of the investigation. He didn't object to legislative proposals that keep some details of the crime secret. Nor has he objected to state police investigators attending conferences at which they are discussing Newtown.

His office and Mr. Sedensky say it's OK for law enforcement to go to New Orleans, Orlando, Dallas, Billings, Mont., Disneyland, Nashville, Maine, Michigan and elsewhere to talk about the lessons of Newtown, saying they aren't sharing report details. It's true that some of the trips involve Newtown police officers, but others are members of the state police involved in the investigation.

Yet Mr. Sedensky says that their trips won't slow down the already glacial pace of putting together his report. It's hard to see how that is possible. If state police are flying to distant cities to yak about the crime, they certainly can't be working on the investigation.

Mr. Malloy's spokesman, Andrew Doba, said the governor respects the independence of the state's attorney's office and wants to give the office the space it needs to get the report done.

Consider this contrast, however: In mid-June police in Massachusetts arrested Patriots tight end and New Britain native Aaron Hernandez for murder. State residents already know far more details about that 6-week-old investigation than about the 7-month-old murders of more than two dozen of our fellow citizens.