Pickering internal investigation still unresolved by New Canaan PD
On June 4, nearly two months ago, the New Canaan Police Department released a statement that criminal charges against Lt. Fred Pickering had been dropped following the state's attorney's review of the evidence.
At the time, the department said it would commence an internal investigation of Pickering to determine whether his conduct violated any of the rules and regulations of the department's Manual of Conduct and Discipline.
Today, Pickering remains on paid leave, the officer in charge of the ethics investigation, Capt. David Bender, has abruptly retired, and no verdict has come forth on whether Pickering acted unethically in the Feb. 23 incident between himself and 23-year-old Joel Anderson at the bar in Tequila Mockingbird on Forest Street.
According to the police report, Anderson, his friend, and his mother went to the police department at about 11:45 p.m., Feb. 23, claiming Anderson was involved in a physical altercation with Pickering, who was off duty at the time.
Anderson also stated that an individual with Pickering used racially offensive language and that both of them threatened Anderson and his friend outside the bar as well, according to the report.
Pickering has been on paid leave since March 11. His base salary is $98,388, according to New Canaan Director of Human Resources Cheryl Pickering Jones, who is also his sister. That means Pickering has earned more than $39,000 since being placed on leave. Pickering makes roughly $1,890 a week.
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Interim Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said the ethics investigation can be surprising in how long it takes.
"There's a process to it all. To some degree, it's a separate investigation," he said. "There's a strict protocol we have to follow in terms of interviews and letting the suspect know what he's accused of. The internal and the criminal are different, although we can use some of what we gathered in the criminal to complete it. There are a lot of rules and rights we have to be wary of, so it's not that simple."
In addition, Bender suddenly announced his retirement last week, according to Krolikowski, who transferred the task to Lt. Vincent DeMaio.
Krolikowski had wanted the investigation to be concluded by the end of the month, but it remains unfinished.
"Our overall concern is to make sure it's done correctly and whatever conclusion is come to is appropriate for the situation," Krolikowski said.
Bender did not return emails or calls for comment.
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