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WARREN 3 officers still await discipline decision

By Peggy Sinkovich

Saturday, January 31, 2004

The chief hopes to have two internal investigations completed next month.
WARREN -- It will be at least a few more weeks before Police Chief John Mandopoulos decides what, if any, punishment three police officers should receive.
Mandopoulos said Tuesday he hopes to resolve the cases of Detective Dewey Gray and Patrol Officer Rich Kovach next month.
The case of officer Manny Nites won't be resolved until he returns to work, the chief said.
"Officer Nites is off on sick leave and has to have surgery, so I won't be doing anything until he returns, and that may be two months," the chief said.
Internal affairs investigators are trying to determine whether Nites violated departmental procedures in the parking lot of a nightclub May 24.
Nites, who was on duty and standing next to the chief, talked to a man who was videotaping the parking lot. Nites can be heard on videotape calling the cameraman a snitch.
The cameraman, Charles Adams, told internal affairs detectives that he felt intimidated.
Gray's case involves the detective's purchase of two handguns.
A woman had called police and asked them to take a .32-caliber revolver and a German Luger handgun. According to reports, the woman's husband was in a nursing home and she no longer wanted the guns.
Gray offered her $20 for the revolver and told her he would get the other gun appraised before making an offer. Before getting the guns appraised, however, the detective learned an internal investigation had been started, so he turned the guns over to the department's evidence room, records state.
Gray is facing administrative charges of using his position to gain advantage in a personal matter and buying a gun from a person who had turned it over to the police department.
The third officer, Rich Kovach, faces an administrative charge of insubordination.
According to reports, Sgt. John Burzynski ordered Kovach to place the seniority insignia pin on his uniform. Kovach, who had the pin in his pocket, turned away from the ranking officer and refused to obey the order, reports state.
"Officer Kovach explained that he needed to take his shirt off to put the pin on right so it would be straight," the chief said. "I have to consider this before I decide if anything should be done."