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Friday, June 6, 2008

A Fifth Police Officer In Madison Is Fired

The Hartford Courant by ALAINE GRIFFIN - May 31, 2008

MADISON — A fifth town police officer linked to a series of scandals in the department was fired Thursday by the board of police commissioners. Town Attorney William Clendenen said that commissioners sustained all the charges against Officer Daniel Hedges, who was charged with eight departmental violations, including conduct unbecoming an officer, lack of respect, lack of civility and failure to adhere to the oath of office and the code of ethics.

Hedges is accused of throwing his badge and a loaded service weapon onto the pavement outside police headquarters after a dispute with management in 2006. The gun, with a round in the chamber, hit the ground and skidded toward a supervisor, according to police department documents. Hedges is also accused of telling a dispatcher that any supervisor who went to his house to order him to work an overtime shift "better watch out for the red dot on their forehead" — an alleged reference to the laser sight on a sniper rifle, police documents said. In 2007, Hedges allegedly said, "I have some names I'd like to add to the list," when ordered by a sergeant to remain on patrol during the dedication of a plaque for officers who had died. Four other police officers have been fired in the past year, and the department's police chief is serving a suspension.

In January, Officer Matthew Sterling was fired on sexual misconduct and other charges related to corruption on the midnight shift. He and fellow Officer Bernard Durgin Jr. were accused of frequenting strip clubs, massage parlors and prostitutes in Bridgeport. Durgin was fired late last year. Durgin also faces criminal charges at Superior Court in New Haven after his arrest on charges of interfering with a police investigation in New Haven on behalf of a friend while off-duty. Police said that he also looked up the names of women he knew on police computer databases, committed a workers' compensation scam and threatened witnesses.

In addition, Sgt. Timothy Heiden was fired on charges that included failing to supervise the officers on his shift. And Officer Joseph Gambardella was terminated after he was arrested on charges of stealing $900 worth of lobsters and meat from a local restaurant and $500 worth of gasoline from the town's public works garage. Last month, the police commission suspended Police Chief Paul D. Jakubson and began an investigation of his conduct. Contact Alaine Griffin at

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