Makes you wonder Ed if this "problem" is widespread in this state. I'm surprised the Courant actually published this too!!
Those of us who follow abuse of firearms laws in Connecticut are not suprised by this story.
Connecticut firearm laws are very specific regarding why, when and how a person must RELINQUISH their handguns!
This situation only goes to prove the point that Connecticut laws are not being followed by ROGUE members of Connecut law enforcment.
Someone should trace the weapons back to the last owner throught the use of the DPS computer system to determine the real facts.
Police Discipline Sergeant For Ethics Violations
By DON STACOM, email@example.com
9:59 PM EDT, August 15, 2010
A veteran police officer faces a three-week suspension after an internal investigation found extensive ethical violations in the department's evidence-handling operation, including a personal collection of handguns.
Sgt. Rodney Gotowala spent years accumulating the guns in the police evidence vault, including several that he obtained "by less than honest and professional" means, according to the investigative report.
They were stored alongside official evidence, and a few had been there so long Gotowala apparently could no longer tell which were city property and which were his, the investigator said.
The case is the latest in a series of probes since the late 1990s that raise questions about management of the police department's detective division, which has been led by Lt. Thomas Killiany for more than 20 years.
During that time, police discovered that a detective had dumped signed felony confessions and evidence from an attempted murder case into a desk drawer, where they sat forgotten for months. In 2005, the city pressed another detective to retire after learning that had abandoned half-finished criminal investigations and tossed the case folders under stacks of paperwork on his desk.
Capt. Daniel McIntyre called that situation "a comprehensive failure of supervision" and brought serious departmental charges against Killiany. Chief John DiVenere issued only a written reprimand, though, and promised new safeguards and better oversight of the detective division.
But the housecleaning didn't reach the detective division's evidence vault until last winter.
A detective sergeant reorganizing the room became curious about a rarely used locker, and he discovered 17 handguns inside, setting off an investigation that concluded Gotowala had abused his job to obtain special benefits and also mishandled official records.
Before becoming a patrol sergeant in 2004, Gotowala worked for years as a detective in the evidence unit, and he apparently began storing his personal gun collection, boxes of ammunition and his guitar alongside police evidence.
At least twice, he inaccurately told residents that they had to relinquish their handguns — and then bought them himself, the investigative report said. He also had two guns that
should have been destroyed years earlier, investigators concluded, but Gotowala contended he was merely holding them as evidence.
DiVenere concluded that Gotowala was guilty of "conduct unbecoming an officer" and a series of other personnel violations. In a deal signed by the city and the police union on Aug. 3, Gotowala waived his right to appeal the suspension and agreed to retire immediately if commanders find him guilty of any serious violation of rules in the future.
Gotowala is not accused of any crime, and police union President Peter Kot called him "a 30-year employee with an excellent work history." Throughout the investigation, Gotowala said he paid for all the guns he owned and he consistently denied breaking any specific police regulations.
In a 52-page summary of his investigation, Lt. Thomas Grimaldi took a different view.
"Despite the fact that the police department lacks any prevailing written policy or written property/evidence room management standards, his behavior appears to defy even basic police ethics guidelines," wrote Grimaldi, the department's primary internal affairs investigator. "Several of these guns that are now legally owned by Gotowala were obtained by less than honest and professional standards."
Acquiring A Collection
After Gotowala was promoted six years ago, he left something behind in the evidence room where he'd worked: A tall, brown metal cabinet. Alongside it stood similar gray cabinets holding property seized in dozens of criminal cases, some of it waiting to be used at trials. The brown one, though, was always locked, and other detectives simply referred to it as "Rodney's locker" because only Gotowala had the key.
Last fall, Detective Sgt. Thomas Calvello told Gotowala to empty it because police needed the space. When Gotowala hadn't complied months later, Calvello had a key made, opened it and discovered the guns.
Sec. 29-33. Sale, delivery or transfer of pistols and revolvers. Procedure. Penalty. (a) No person, firm or corporation shall sell, deliver or otherwise transfer any pistol or revolver to any person who is prohibited from possessing a pistol or revolver as provided in section 53a-217c.
Sec. 29-36k. Transfer or surrender of firearms by persons ineligible to possess same. Penalty. (a) Not later than two business days after the occurrence of any event that makes a person ineligible to possess a pistol or revolver or other firearm, such person shall (1) transfer in accordance with section 29-33 all pistols and revolvers which such person then possesses to any person eligible to possess a pistol or revolver and transfer in accordance with any applicable state and federal laws all other firearms to any person eligible to possess such other firearms by obtaining an authorization number for the sale or transfer of the firearm from the Commissioner of Public Safety, and submit a sale or transfer of firearms form to said commissioner within two business days, or (2) deliver or surrender such pistols and revolvers and other firearms to the Commissioner of Public Safety. The commissioner shall exercise due care in the receipt and holding of such pistols and revolvers and other firearms.
(b) Such person, or such person's legal representative, may, at any time up to one year after such delivery or surrender, transfer such pistols and revolvers in accordance with the provisions of section 29-33 to any person eligible to possess a pistol or revolver and transfer such other firearms in accordance with any applicable state and federal laws to any person eligible to possess such other firearms. Upon notification in writing by the transferee and such person, the Commissioner of Public Safety shall within ten days deliver such pistols and revolvers or other firearms to the transferee. If, at the end of such year, such pistols and revolvers or other firearms have not been so transferred, the commissioner shall cause them to be destroyed.
(c) Any person who fails to transfer or surrender any such pistols and revolvers and other firearms as provided in this section shall be subject to the penalty provided for in section 53a-217 or 53a-217c.
Sec. 29-38c. Seizure of firearms of person posing risk of imminent personal injury to self or others.
Last edited by Edward Peruta; 08-16-2010 at 05:37 AM.
Makes you wonder Ed if this "problem" is widespread in this state. I'm surprised the Courant actually published this too!!
Saw a news story last night about a guy who was driving right at the limit of drunk driving had a permit and was carrying his gun. His kids were in the car also. Cops stopped him, took his gun and permit.
Them seizing the gun I can almost understand because this guy was arrested for being "drunk" but he should have gotten both back when he was released and the decision left to the state board of permit examiners to decide. Also does losing your permit to carry mean you also relinquish your rights to own a gun in your home?
You do NOT need a permit to own a handgun in your home. You need a permit or eligibility certificate to have a handgun transferred to you (new or used, dealer or face-to-face) or a permit to carry it outside of your home.
Carrying while under the influence is covered in 53-206d. (Jury Instructions,Statute) Jury instructions make it seem like the state doesn't have to prove that his BAL is .10, just that his intoxication would impair his ability to use the firearm.
Sad quote from the article:
“I don't see how anyone could -- having a gun in the car with kids let alone getting drunk too."
I have NO FAITH in West Hartford - period.
Their officers tend to lie anyway. My mother was pulled over last year for supposedly a wrong lane change incident. They had nothing on her and couldn't prove that - they were fishing.
Arrested her for a DUI.
State lab says her level was .02
They continued to drag it out in court hoping that her legal fees were too much and she'd quite.
They were wrong mind you, and now that charges were dropped, she's still fighting the case on another front.
But..... all being said, I have NO faith in West Hartford PD at all.
There is one very sad part to all of this.
Gun gets bad media attention. Even if they find out he is innocent, not like it will be reported as such.
So now you guys got me thinking. Lets say I'm drinking at home being safe and not drunk driving, etc. Lets say I keep a gun close to me at all times like most people do. Do the same laws apply as "carrying" while intoxicated or no? I assume not but the DA might still try pushing that especially if somebody breaks into the house and I'm relaxing and having a few and shoot them before they stab/shoot me, etc.
However, for me, when I'm drinking alcohol, the gun is stored in the safe. Others in my home are subject to the same restrictions because my house, my rules.
Like everything else in life, being an adult is about balancing risks and making judgments.
People seem to think that other people don't want you to drink while carrying because we are afraid you turn into a bad guy.
That is missing the point (by a lot). Most people who are second amendment supporters are also advocates of personal responsibility. Personal responsibility and carrying a firearm are very much the same thing. Any time you are using a substance that potentially impairs your ability to make judgments or might impair your fine motor skills, you are putting your life and the lives of the people around you in jeopardy.
Furthermore, you risk hurting the cause that we are all working so hard for. Every idiot who has negligent discharge or a bad shoot puts all of our rights at risk because it gives the anti-gunners the ammunition they need for their illogical campaigns.
I believe people should have the freedom to make their own decisions. If you want to have a drink while you are armed, that is your decision and I respect that. However, remember the risks and remember that you are (whether you like it or not) representing a community.
The same thing goes for terrible posts on the internet making our whole community look bad, but I won't get too much into that.
Would I go to a party where I'd be inclined to drink more than a few while carrying? No I wouldn't. Not because I think I'd turn into a pistol waving homicidal maniac, just because my level of personal responsibility tells me that it wouldn't be a good thing to do.
If people were held accountable for their actions instead of having the reasons (or excuses) explained away for them, the world would be a better place.
The fact that anyone even questions or argues this scares me a little bit.
If I go out drinking then I wont carry a gun. I make the choice to do so. If I am out and put myself into a situation of possibly drinking or with others drinking, I know what a great responsibility it is to carry a gun and I make the choice to keep calm and maybe have a beer or 2 and stop. Its not hard to make those easy choices. If you have a hard time making that choice then maybe your responsibility level isn't up to the level it needs to be to carry a gun.
2 examples of choices I make: 4th of july I have a big party. I know the odds are stacked against me being sober come the evening let alone in the position to be competent enough to hold a gun, so in the wee hours of the morning I gather the home defense stuff and it all gets locked in the safe. Not only for my safety but for others who are at my home if they decide to go snooping around.
2: this past friday night my wife and I took a couple friends out to dinner. We went to the texas roadhouse in manchester and I was carrying a gun. I had 1 beer that went down just fantastic, probably my last sam summer for the year, then had the sense to get a coke for the rest of the time we were there.
I hold the ability to defend myself or my family in a much higher regard than I ever did the ability to drink.
Well that is the key. Drinking at home I believe is a good bit different then drinking outside of your home and why I specifically stated drinking @ home, etc. I also don't carry if I go out and will be drinking so no problem there. Guess I opened up a can of worms! =o
Yes, but in that case.... in my own home...... I'd much rather be judged by 12 than carried by six.
And for the record, just because you have a permit, doesn't mean you shouldn't be allowed to drink in your own home.