GREENFIELD — Four Greenfield police officers have recently returned from serving unpaid suspensions over a variety of disciplinary issues, and a fifth is appealing his sanction to the board of works.
Greenfield Police Chief John Jester said the incidents were not all related, though four officers served one- to three-day suspensions around the same time period in late July.
“They just all hit at the same time,” Jester said. “We normally don’t have a whole lot of problems. We have had our share in the past, and I think we’ve proven when we learn of a problem, we deal with it.”
The officers who have served suspensions are Sgt. Jimmie Condra; Cpl. Eric Fields; and Patrolmen Stephen Kalk and Matt Holland. A fifth officer, whose name has not been released, was given a three-day suspension but asked for that decision to be reviewed by the board of works.
The works board is required to review any suspension longer than five days, but an officer may ask for a review of any suspension, regardless of length.
At least two of the incidents were discovered incidentally. Condra was suspended for one day after an “insubordinate text message” was found from Condra in another officer’s phone during an unrelated investigation, Jester said. The conduct of the fifth officer (who is appealing his suspension) also cropped up in a text conversation, Jester said.
Kalk, a night-shift patrolman, was suspended for three days after it came to light that he searched a vehicle without consent of its owner. Jester said the department had received a call about a person breaking into cars, and Kalk responded and conducted a traffic stop.
Kalk searched the car without the driver’s consent, Jester said. Holland was suspended for one day because he witnessed the improper search and did not stop it or report it, Jester said.
The department’s standard operating procedures manual indicates an officer who witnesses a violation must stop or report it.
Kalk found stolen property in the car, but it was unclear Friday how the improper search impacted the ability to file charges against the driver.
Cpl. Eric Fields was given one day without pay after he saw a subordinate officer act unprofessionally while the pair was responding to a domestic dispute but failed to correct the officer.
The subordinate officer is facing a write-up, which will go into his personnel file, Jester said.
City attorney Tom Billings said the officer who is appealing his suspension to the board of works won’t likely find out whether the board rules in his favor until the board’s first meeting in September.
The board may choose to uphold the chief’s decision, reverse it or grant the officer a hearing before making a decision, Billings said.