3/21/2016 - Disposition of Internal Investigations – Officer James Martin and Officer Daniel Ehret

Date: March 21, 2016
Re: Disposition of Internal Investigations – Officer James Martin and Officer Daniel Ehret

Issued by: Chief Duane J. Lovello

For Immediate Release

With a vote of the Darien Police Commission this afternoon, the status of Police Officers Daniel Ehret and James Martin has been resolved. The officers have been on administrative leave since an off-duty incident on August 1, 2015, involving the discharge of a personally owned firearm at Martin’s home, directed at a vehicle owned by Martin. When police arrived at the scene, they found the vehicle with bullet holes in it and spent shell casings adjacent to the vehicle.

The Police Department conducted an extensive internal affairs investigation into the incident, which resulted in disciplinary charges being levied against both Ehret and Martin. The officers cooperated fully in the investigation. The Department’s General Orders call for a Police Commission hearing on charges calling for discipline greater than a two-day suspension, and the matter was referred to the Commission. Hearings were to be held today and Thursday. However, agreements were reached with both officers and the Police Union regarding the disposition of the charges.

The Commission and the Town approved the negotiated “last chance agreements” for both officers, which will close the internal affairs investigation and return both to work with disciplinary suspensions of 60 days, conditions on their work for the next 60 days, restrictions on promotions and special assignments for two years, and the potential for termination without right of appeal if there are repeat violations of Departmental General Orders for the next five years. The suspension will be retroactive, with the officers reimbursing the Town for 60 days of the pay and benefits received while they were on administrative leave.

According to Darien Police Commission Chairman Paul Johnson, “The Police Commission thinks that this is an effective resolution for the officers, the Department, and the Town. The incident was thoroughly investigated and this settlement balances the gravity of the situation against the officers’ years of laudable service.”