EGREMONT -- Two officers from the troubled Egremont Police Department were recommended for termination by the town's interim police chief during an executive session meeting of the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday.
Turnover continues to roil through the four-person department after Officer Jeremy Pilone, who briefly led the department earlier this year, subsequently submitted his resignation on the recommendation of interim Police Chief Brian Shaw. The recommendation was supported by the Selectmen.
According to Board of Selectmen Chair Bruce Turner, Pilone likely would have been put on paid administrative leave until the start of the new fiscal year, which ends June 30. His resignation is effective June 30.
The interim chief also requested Officer Hans Carlson not be re-appointed after his probationary term ends on June 30. After meeting in executive session, Turner said the Selectmen disagreed with the recommendation at their meeting Wednesday night.
Carlson will be working closely with his superiors on a corrective action, Turner said.
"It hurt me that [Pilone] put us in a situation where he had to resign," Turner said. "It did. It was tough. The whole night was tough. We thought we had really good officers, I still think we do have good officers. But things didn't fall into place."
Both officers, at separate times on Wednesday, met with the three-person Board of Selectmen, Shaw, and the town's personnel consultant Bill Tighe. On the request of the officers, Teamster Union executive board member Victor Santiago was also present.
Hired in May, interim Chief Shaw, a veteran of the Stockbridge Police Department, replaced Reena Bucknell, whom the Selectmen placed on paid administrative leave more than four months ago. Selectmen at the time of Shaw's hire said he was brought in part to help investigate and possibly implement changes within the police department.
Pilone led the department until Shaw was hired.
Neither Pilone or Carlson could be reached by press time. Shaw also could not be reached at the Stockbridge Police Department.
Turner identified a "leadership conflict" between Pilone and Shaw and "evidence" submitted that supported the chief's recommendation. Turner identified "police procedural conflicts" in Carlson's case. Turner deferred comment to the chief on whether the "police procedural conflict" related to any public interaction.
Both officers were hired in October. They both were still serving one-year, new-hire probation periods.
Pilone moved to Egremont after serving more than 20 years in public safety in the state of Florida. He was appointed by the Board of Selectmen as the officer-in-charge after Bucknell was put on administrative leave following a department no-confidence vote in her. An audit of the department found "financial oddities," high turnover, police officer training issues, and "antiquated policies and procedures" under Bucknell.
Pilone had spearhead the implementation of recommendations from the audit.
Turner said Pilone's misconduct was attributed to incidents after the interim chief was been hired.
"He was led to believe by the former police chief [Bucknell] some things that the Select Board couldn't do. Unfortunately, that put him in a bad position. ... I don't think the board was truly clear in this whole process," said Turner, referencing a "second-in-command" position.
He added, "We hired [him] as an officer and that was it."
The other officer, Carlson, worked in law enforcement in Habbardston with more than 14 years of experience as a detective and sergeant.
Carlson will retain employment in Egremont if he follows his superiors, Turner said. He said there were "isolated incidents" of misconduct that took place after Bucknell was put on leave.
"We didn't think there was enough issue there to cause anything further than what we decided," Turner said.
Still unresolved, the town will meet on June 17 in executive session to discuss Bucknell's employment with the town, Turner said.
To reach John Sakata:
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