|Twin Cities Carry Forum Archive
|"… did what he thought was best"
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|Traveler [ Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:11 am ]
|"… did what he thought was best"
At least the guy likes guns. He doesn't want others to have them, but he likes them.
Will the original owners get an opportunity to reclaim their firearms because they were purchased by unsavory means? Probably not.
BRISTOL — A decorated* veteran police sergeant has been issued a three-week suspension for procuring guns associated with crime incidents for himself and then storing the weapons under lock and key in the department’s evidence vault.
Sgt. Rodney Gotowala, a nearly 30-year veteran of the police department who received a lifesaving award in 2007, had stowed 17 guns, many related to emergency incidents within the city, in a locked cabinet in the detective division responsible for keeping track of evidence, an internal affairs investigation concluded.
Gotowala admitted to gathering the guns while working as a detective by sometimes calling residents who had been suicidal and informing them, “they could not have their gun back so they would have to get rid of the gun,” the report said.
He then would purchase the weapon from the resident and store it without any identifying tags or markers. He was the only person with the key, even years after he left the detective division, investigators concluded.
Gotowala told internal affairs investigators that as early as 1997 it was “common for him to call the people who police had contact with in talk of suicide cases and would tell them that they cannot have their gun back.”
“Gotowala confirmed that there was no department policy on this particular issue and said that he, ‘did what he thought was best’,” the report said. He would also tell the residents, “they had to get rid of the gun and he would offer to buy said gun.”
The storage of the guns came to light in February when Detective Sergeant Tom Calvello inspected the contents of the cabinet while overseeing the reorganization of the vault. The weapons included at least two guns bought by Gotowala for his personal use from residents who at one point were suicidal and had turned their guns over to police during the crisis.
Another weapon found in the cabinet was designated by the court to be destroyed after being used in a homicide. Another came from a resident who was moving out of the country and wanted his gun donated to the Bristol police for their use. In both cases, the guns were not tagged as evidence or as property of the police department but were stored in the locked cabinet with Gotowala the only officer to carry the key.
In every case the internal affairs investigators deemed that it appeared Gotowala was keeping the weapons for his personal use and storing them without proper identification at the police department. He had told a few officers who had asked about the cabinet in October 2009 that they were his personal weapons that his wife didn’t want stored at home.
The investigation concluded that although there was no department policy about officers buying guns from residents involved in a police incident, the practice was “amoral” and “several ethical issues come to mind and [the practice] should be stopped immediately.”
Mayor Art Ward who also chairs the police commission said Thursday Police Chief John DiVenere would be drafting policy changes, “to ensure these types of situations don’t occur again.”
Gotowala is facing a three-week suspension without pay for several violations of the department’s code of conduct including conduct unbecoming an employee, knowingly or intentionally abusing official position to obtain special benefits or favor, negligent entry or omission of information of any record, failure to carry out assigned duties and performing assigned duties or official work in a careless or negligent manner.
According to the terms of an agreement between Gotowala, the police union and the city, he will turn in his badge, gun and identification for a 15-day suspension without pay that runs from Sept. 7 through Sept. 30.
Gotowala also agreed to waive his rights to file a grievance against the disciplinary action and will be required to submit a request for retirement if in the future he violates any department policy that the police chief refers to the Police Commission, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by all three parties. Gotowala could not be reached for comment Thursday.
* I love it when disgraced officials are referred to as "decorated" or some other flattering adjective.
|Tick Slayer [ Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:46 am ]
|Re: "… did what he thought was best"
Decorated? You mean like a Christmas tree?
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