School Shooting

A shattered window at the entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary School is pictured in this evidence photo released by the Connecticut State Police. (Reuters / December 27, 2013)

It's mystifying why it took so long for the state police to finally release their report on the investigation of the most infamous crime in Connecticut history.

The disturbed Adam Lanza's attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School — a shooting spree that took the lives of 20 first-graders and six women at the school — occurred more than a year ago, on Dec. 14, 2012. The state police report on the shootings was first promised by authorities in June, then again in September, yet both deadlines were missed.

But here it came Friday afternoon, a massive, hard-to-access, 7,000-page file put up on a Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection website. Its release in that way and at that time was another example of the department's poor timing.

Released on slow-news-day Friday in the middle of a holiday period, it almost seemed as if the department was trying to diminish public scrutiny of the report. The Christmas/New Year's period is also not a great time for the families of the victims to relive the horrific event and try to digest the massive report.

The report's yearlong gestation has impeded the work of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission.

Its members were appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to review policies on school safety, mental health and gun violence prevention and to recommend needed changes. Commission members were pleading for more information to complete their job by the March 2014 deadline. They didn't meet for months while waiting for the report.

We're certain the state police wanted to do a thorough job. The report should have been completed earlier, however.

The crime was as simple as it was terrible. The lone perpetrator is dead, the only mystery remaining his motive.

The state police served their colleagues in other states well by leaking, early on, elements of the investigation at law enforcement conventions. They were understandably solicitous of and helpful to the families of the victims, keeping them abreast of the criminal inquiry.

But they kept the public in the dark for too long — in that regard poorly serving the vast majority of the people they work for.