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Police discipline all major crimes supervisors in “dead pool” incident

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    HARTFORD, Connecticut (WFSB) — Hartford Police Department leadership announced the “dead pool” investigation has concluded and Major Crimes supervisors have been disciplined.

According to a memo from Chief Jason Thody, he will be disciplining all three Major Crimes Division supervisors who received the text message.

At the request of members of the City Council, Chief Thody will also be sending the investigation for an independent, outside review, to ensure the community has confidence in the investigative process.

Through interviews conducted during the investigation, multiple detectives said that one supervisor in Major Crimes, Sgt. Anthony Rykowski, spoke to then-Detective Placzek in the Major Crimes Division office on Thursday, December 3, 2020 and told him that the content of the text was inappropriate.

Police said neither Sgt. Rykowski nor Sgt. Jeffrey Morrison, the two sergeants in Major Crimes, discussed the text with their supervisor, Lt. Paul Cicero, before Friday, December 4, 2020, and Lt. Cicero did not take action prior to that Friday.

Lt. Cicero was charged with two violations of the Code of Conduct, “failure to properly supervise subordinates or to prefer disciplinary action or take other appropriate action” and “failure of a supervisor to make proper notifications.”

Lt. Cicero was previously removed from Major Crimes as well as from his role as Public Information Officer and faces up to five days unpaid suspension for the failure to supervise charge and an oral reprimand for the failure to make notification charge, which is the maximum discipline for that charge.

Sgt. Anthony Rykowski was charged with “failure to properly supervise subordinates or to prefer disciplinary action or take other appropriate action” and faces up to five days unpaid suspension.

Sgt. Jeffrey Morrison was charged with being inattentive to duty or assignment, and he will receive documented counseling, the maximum penalty for the charge. 2 Officer Placzek, who sent the text message, was previously given an unpaid-120 day suspension, demoted from Detective to Officer, and his return to the department was made contingent on a fitness for duty evaluation and a restorative justice program involving discussion with community members.

Thody released the following statement:

“The investigation sustained charges against all three Major Crimes Division supervisors who received the text message and, in my view, did not take strong or quick enough action,” said Chief Thody. “From my perspective, while then-Detective Placzek’s direct supervisor spoke to him about the text message the day after, that’s simply not enough. And I certainly expect more from the leader of Major Crimes. The detectives who received the text on their personal phones may not have had a duty to report the incident according to the Code of Conduct, but I am discouraged by the fact that they did not take more proactive action to address the behavior of their peer. Since this came to light, I have begun having individual and small-group meetings with all supervisors in the Police Department to emphasize the standards I have of them – and that those standards apply in all situations. “The members of our Major Crimes Division have incredibly difficult jobs, they have done tremendous work bringing closure to families this year, and I have the utmost confidence in their work over many years, including building relationships with organizations who support victims and their families in our community. They absolutely need support and access to programs like employee assistance, which we have, and we will consider whether we need to expand. “The bottom line is that this conduct crossed the line by a big margin, and every member of the Department, myself included, now has the responsibility to help fix the damage this caused.”

“I am confident in this investigation, and that’s why, at the request of several City Council members, I will be sending this investigation to an appropriate independent, outside reviewer to ensure the community has confidence in the investigative process, as soon as we identify an appropriate entity.,” Thody said.

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