Report: Gun policy violated
Officers are supposed to put such guns in the evidence room.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The police department's internal affairs division concluded a detective violated procedures when he had a patrol officer give him two guns that should have been kept in an evidence room.
The report, released Tuesday after a Vindicator public-records request, states Detective Dewey Gray violated two departmental policies: using his position to gain advantage in a personal matter; and buying a gun from a person who had turned the merchandise over to the police department.
The report prepared by Lt. Joseph Marhulik, internal affairs investigator, concludes Sgt. John Burzynski and Sgt. Dan Hudak also violated administrative rules by failing to take corrective action and submit a written report when learning that Gray may have violated the department's procedures.
Gray, a 14-year department veteran, could not be reached to comment.
Guns turned over
According to the police incident report, a woman on Third Street Southwest called police around 1:27 p.m. Sept. 24 and said she had two guns in her home that she did not want. She asked if police would come to get the .32-caliber revolver and a German Luger handgun, Marhulik said.
With two teenage grandchildren often at her house, Thelma Ruffin told The Vindicator, she was afraid to have the guns in her home.
Officer Terrence Edington picked up the guns, reports state. As Edington pulled into the police station lot, Gray met him and told Edington to give him the guns; Edington complied, Marhulik said.
When officers collect guns from people, they are to be taken to the station and put in the evidence room, Marhulik said. That procedure is followed even if the guns were not used in the commission of a crime. The guns are kept in the evidence room until they are disposed of.
Marhulik's report says that because Edington and Gray have the same rank, Edington could not order Gray not to take the guns. Edington went to his supervisor, Burzynski, who did not file a written report. Hudak also became aware of the violation and went to Sgt. John Delbene, asking him to look into the matter. Hudak should have made a written report to his division commander, Marhulik's report states.
Delbene did begin investigating the matter but stopped when internal affairs took over, the report states.
Visit to woman
According to the document, Ruffin told Marhulik that Gray came to her house, told her his father was a collector and gave her $20 for the revolver. She said Gray also said he'd find out how much the Luger was worth before he offered her money for it.
According to Gray's written statement to internal affairs investigators, he learned that an investigation was being done on the matter before he got the gun appraised. Gray said he then turned the guns over to police.
"I would just like to say that I felt that I was not using my position to gain something that was worth more than I paid as the .32-caliber was old and not in great shape and the Luger was going to get appraised before payment," Gray's statement reads. "I know that this has happened before within the WPD, and nothing was done to them nor was there an investigation into the matter."
As part of the internal investigation, Marhulik had an officer get the guns appraised. The .32-caliber revolver has an estimated value of $90 to $120, and the auction price of the Luger would be anywhere from $800 to $1,600, according to the report.
It will be up to Police Chief John Mandopoulos to determine if any disciplinary action should take place. The report was given to the chief Nov. 17.
Law Director Greg Hicks said the report should have been released once internal affairs completed the investigation. The chief, however, said he did not want to release the report because it could result in criminal charges against the officer involved. The chief, however, said Tuesday afternoon that he didn't think Gray would be criminally charged.