Too many Connecticut Police Officers have gotten away with this for too long
|Madison cop’s troubles mount|
|Durgin in court on intimidation, witness tampering counts|
|By Amanda Pinto, New Haven Register Staff|
MADISON — A suspended police officer already facing criminal charges got an early lump of coal Monday morning: a trip to Superior Court in New Haven on new charges of intimidating and tampering with a witness.
The charges against Bernard Durgin Jr. of East Haven stem from incidents between August and December, when Durgin allegedly confronted and threatened a witness involved in investigating one or more of his previous charges, police said.
The latest charges, while “deplorable and unacceptable,” will likely not be the last levied against police officers, First Selectman Al Goldberg said.
“I wish it were done,” Goldberg said. “This is just agonizing. There are a lot of good, good police officers in town and they’re being tainted with this.”
Durgin, who turns 39 on Wednesday, was charged with a first-degree computer crime in October for allegedly using state law enforcement database systems to get personal information on ex-girlfriends and women he worked with as a security officer at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
He was also suspended without pay for allegedly flashing his badge in New Haven in August to try to prevent a friend and fellow Poor Boyz motorcycle club member from getting arrested.
Earlier this month, Durgin was charged with two counts of filing a fraudulent claim or receipt of benefits and two counts of second-degree larceny for allegedly working at Yale-New Haven Hospital while on paid disability leave from the Madison Police Department.
“He was clearly advised after (a prior) arrest, which was the computer crime, that he wasn’t to have any contact with the people involved in that investigation,” Police Chief Paul Jakubson said. “He subsequently went up to several of the people that were involved.”
Durgin’s arrest, late Friday, came hours after a Board of Selectmen special meeting, during which Police Commission attorney William Clendenen Jr. briefed the selectmen on legal issues in an executive session.
The charges come after an internal investigation into alleged police misconduct.
The probe also resulted in the arrest and termination of former police Officer Joseph Gambardella, 49, of Guilford.
Gambardella was arrested this month after he allegedly stole gas from town pumps, and was fired in May after he was charged with stealing seafood worth $900 from Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale Restaurant last year.
A termination hearing for Durgin is under way, but no testimony has been taken because commissioners are waiting for attorneys to agree on a time frame, Police Commission Chairman Emile Geisenheimer has said.
Durgin is scheduled to be back in court Jan. 11 on the computer and workers’ compensation charges. No new court date for the witness tampering and intimidation charges was available Monday afternoon.
Amanda Pinto can be reached at email@example.com or 789-5734.