Windsor Locks Police Department ordered to rehire Koistinen

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor Locks - posted Wed., Feb. 26, 2014

The Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration announced recently that it found that the town of Windsor Locks did not have just cause to terminate the employment of Sgt. Robert Koistinen.  Koistinen was one of the respondents to a bicycle vs. car accident on Oct. 29, 2010, in which his son – also a WLPD officer - was involved and a local teenager lost his life.

Robert Koistinen was later charged with a number of criminal statute violations including a policy that prohibits a ranking officer from investigating a situation involving someone in his immediate family.

Initially, Koistinen was demoted by Chief Chester DeGray to patrol officer and suspended for 90 days. According to the arbitration decision handed down on Feb. 19, “The First Selectman [Steve Wawruck] asked the [Police] Commission to override Degray’s recommendation and terminate [Koistinen] for conduct unbecoming a police officer, neglect of duty and improper reporting and investigation of crimes.”

In the end, Koistinen was terminated.

The town has maintained that he did not perform his duties in the field and that the case brought “unfavorable media coverage” to the town and the police department.

The panel recently announced its decision that the town did not have cause to terminate Koistinen, and that he will be given one-year suspension without pay, and will be reinstated into his prior position upon return.

A special Police Commission meeting was held on Monday, Feb. 24, to discuss the ruling.

According to Police Commission Chair Kevin Brace, the meeting would allow for some public participation but would mainly occur in executive session.  The commission met with its labor attorneys to “to discuss this award and our options going forward.”

“We are not taking any action at tonight's meeting,” said Brace on Feb. 24. “We will schedule another public meeting in the near future to make a decision.”

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