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Rehired New London police officer has attendance clause

By Greg Smith

Publication: The Day

Published 05/13/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 05/13/2013 11:39 PM
'Last chance agreement' contains provision for immediate job termination

New London - The "last chance agreement," that led to the rehiring of fired New London Police Officer Joshua Bergeson earlier this month calls for his immediate termination should he violate any policy regarding attendance within the next three years, according to details of his agreement with the city.

It was absenteeism that led to his termination in January 2012, according to a statement at the time by Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, and apparently not his involvement in the alleged beating and pepper spraying of Reuben Miller on Dec. 14, 2011.

Miller, 32, was arrested outside the Southeastern Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence detoxification center on Coit Street. He has since filed suit against Bergeson and three other officers for violations of his civil and constitutional rights and use of excessive force.

A report filed by New London Sgt. LJ Keating after the incident cleared officers of any violation of police policies pertaining to use of force but highlighted breaches in several departmental procedures.

As part of the settlement between the city and the union, which had filed several grievances over Bergeson's firing by Finizio, Bergeson received a 10-day suspension "on the books only" for his involvement in the SCADD incident, specifically "for misuse of Cap-Stun (pepper spray) and reporting issues."

An internal investigation of the incident revealed Bergeson had incorrectly deployed pepper spray and initially filed an incomplete report on Miller's arrest.

The agreement released last week shows the union was to withdraw all pending claims and grievances upon Bergeson's recertification at the department.

In the event of a violation of the attendance policies, the union will only be able to grieve "reasonableness of the violation" or whether a violation occurred.

The settlement also combines Bergeson's previous three-day suspension and five-day suspensions with the termination "for attendance" to be written "on the books," as a 20-day suspension. Bergeson was credited three sick days and his seniority interrupted from his firing in January 2012 to Nov. 1, 2012, according to the agreement.

The agreement was signed in April by Bergeson, police union President Todd Lynch, New London's Chief Administrative Officer Jane Glover and New London Police Chief Margaret Ackley.

g.smith@theday.com

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