STRATFORD — Seizure-prone Police Officer Justin LoSchiavo has been fired, but did not lose his job for crashing his cruiser into four cars while in the throes of a seizure last June, but for displaying a lack of “integrity and attention to duty” and “conduct unbecoming an officer,” Mayor John A. Harkins said today.
Harkins, in announcing LoSchiavo’s termination a day after the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing for the officer, said that in the course of determining LoSchiavo’s “fitness to return to active duty following the events of June 6, 2009, several inconsistencies were uncovered in this individual’s personnel files.
“Upon thorough investigation by Human Resources Director Ron Ing, it was determined that Mr. LoSchiavo made deliberately false statements to town officials during his efforts to return to active police duty following the events of last year,” Harkins said.
During the disciplinary, or “Loudermill,” hearing mandated for public employees facing termination, LoSchiavo “willfully admitted to engaging in the misconduct alleged by the town,” the mayor said.
“Law-enforcement officials must be held to the highest standards of professional conduct,” Harkins said. “By willfully making false statements in order to maintain employment with the town of Stratford, Justin LoSchiavo violated the trust of his fellow officers and the public he had elected to serve. As mayor, I cannot and will not excuse, condone or tolerate any employee who uses dishonesty to reap personal benefit at public expense.”
LoSchiavo, 32, son of former Deputy Police Chief Joseph LoSchiavo and Human Resources Assistant Linda LoSchiavo and brother of Stratford Police Officer Joe LoSchiavo Jr., was assigned to “light duty” the past seven months after his driver’s license was seized and suspended following last June’s crash.
LoSchiavo, hired in June 2006 by former Mayor James R. Miron, will receive no pension benefits because he did not work as a police officer for at least five years, said Town Attorney Tim Bishop.
“This decision was pre-determined, baseless and was reached in a manner to avoid the true threshold issue — whether this officer was fit for patrol duty,” said Jon August, LoSchiavo’s lawyer. “We expect the union to file a grievance and we’re considering all of our (legal) options.”