A Chicopee police officer has been suspended and is now on desk duty after he allegedly fired his gun during an altercation with his wife. Officials spoke exclusively to CBS 3 Springfield's Natalie Tolomeo.
Lt. Patrick Major is the police officer at the center of the investigation and officials said he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. Chicopee police and Mayor Michael Bissonnette said the incident happened hours after the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 18.
"The police chief suspended Lt. Major for his behavior after the St. Patrick's Day parade that occurred primarily at his residence, including the discharging of a firearm," Bissonnette said.
Bissonnette said Major had gotten into an altercation with his wife, and that's when he allegedly fired his gun. The next day, Monday, March 19, officials said Major was suspended for five days.
"The officer didn't represent the Chicopee police contingent in the parade," Bissonnette said. "He wasn't representing the city that day or the department that day. He was clearly engaging in some St. Patrick's Day festivities of his own leading up to the incident."
An investigation revealed Major was under the influence of alcohol when he fired the gun. After the 5-day suspension, Major has been allowed back on the force. However, police officials said Major has been assigned to desk duty. Bissonnette said Major's department-issued firearm has been taken from him as officials investigate.
"We are looking into the situation, into whether there is treatment needed, whether there is further discipline needed and whether criminal charges will be brought," the mayor said.
In a statement, Chicopee Police Chief John Ferraro said the police department is investigating and has put administrative sanctions in place.
"I expect our superior officers, our veteran officers to set an example," Bissonnette said. "I am not too happy with the conduct of this individual. We are going to continue to investigate and if further action is necessary, I'm not afraid to take it. I've fired a police officer before and I'd do it again if necessary."
As the Internal Affairs Department of the police force investigates, the city's Law Department is doing an investigation of its own. Legal experts are examining the law to determine what, if any, charges Major could face.
Stay with CBS 3 Springfield for more information as we will follow up on this story.
Copyright 2012 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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