PAWTUCKET – Officer Daniel Dolan won a not-guilty verdict in a court of law, but that doesn’t mean he should keep his job, say officials.
The Pawtucket Police Department will move to fire Dolan after his acquittal following an incident where he fired his gun at a carful of teenagers, striking one, after seeing them speed on the highway and catching up with them at a pizza place.
“Trust in our public officials, both elected and appointed, is critical to our country’s ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union,” said Mayor Donald Grebien in a statement late last week. “In particular, our faith and trust in those we employ to protect our public safety and enforce our laws are paramount to our community’s ability to thrive. When that trust is challenged, it is vital that our institutions rise to the moment and meet those challenges.”
He said he fully supports men and women in local law enforcement.
“I am grateful for the work that the Pawtucket police do every single day to protect the well-being of all residents and visitors in our great city,” he said. “I know, however, that they share my high standards and expectations for honorable service. One officer’s actions do not define a profession, however, what we allow, tolerate, and excuse casts a cloud over all. The city of Pawtucket and its Police Department will not allow or enable behavior that jeopardizes our ability to protect the community we serve and protect.”
On Jan. 26, a jury found Dolan not guilty of four criminal charges. Throughout the criminal investigation, the Pawtucket Police Department conducted a parallel, internal investigation.
“Lack of criminality does not mean that an officer’s conduct was appropriate or that it represented the high standards to which we hold our public safety officials,” said Grebien.
After consulting with the city’s outside legal counsel and complying with the process set forth by the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, the department determined that termination of employment is the appropriate course of action, said the mayor.
“I applaud the diligent work of the internal affairs team and Chief Tina Goncalves to bring the city to this point,” he said. “LEOBOR has restricted what the Pawtucket Police Department can release publicly. However, as of today, the department can now move forward with these disciplinary proceedings as the statutory provisions allow.”
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