No decision made on fired Windsor Locks sergeant - WFSB 3 Connecticut

No decision made on fired Windsor Locks sergeant

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Windsor Locks' police commission will discuss Sgt. Robert Koistinen's rehiring Monday night. Windsor Locks' police commission will discuss Sgt. Robert Koistinen's rehiring Monday night.
WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) -

A state panel said a Windsor Locks police sergeant was unjustly fired, and on Monday the town's police commission met to go over his rehiring.

However, no decision was reached on the rehiring of Sgt. Robert Koistinen.

The Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration ordered the town to rehire Koistinen on Thursday.

The panel said Koistinen may have acted inappropriately when he showed up to a deadly crash scene where his son, Michael Koistinen, an off-duty police officer, hit and killed a teenager. However, it said he did not deserve to lose his job.

Prosecutors said Michael Koistinen has been drinking and driving when he hit and killed 15-year-old Henry Dang, who had been riding his bike in October 2010.

Robert Koistinen was fired two years after that on accusations that he tried to cover up the crash.

Last fall, Robert Koistinen was acquitted of hindering that accident scene.

The panel released a report saying that the town had no right to fire him and that not only was Robert Koistinen entitled to his old job, but lost wages as well.

"Once he arrived on scene, he immediately requested senior officers, including the chief, be notified ... to take over the investigation," the report said.

The panel does not excuse Robert Koistinen completely.

"He displayed poor judgement in placing his son in the back seat of his car and traveling to and from police headquarters on two occasions over a very short period of time," the report added. "The appropriate course of action grievance should have pursued was to make certain he had absolutely no contact with his son that night."

Robert Koistinen's attorney said they are pleased with the decision.

William Rousseau told the town's police commission they should appeal the state's decision at the meeting on Monday night. 

"You may want to believe that the sergeant had no conversation with his son that evening while in transport, but don't buy it," Rousseau said.

Shortly after public comment, the commission went into executive session for 45 minutes.

"I would much prefer that they meet in public and have their discussion" Rousseau said.

About 45 minutes later, commission members came back in and ended the public meeting.

"We have met with our attorneys and reviewed the various issues related to this decision," said Kevin Brace, who is a member of Windsor Locks Police Commission. "We will continue to gather information about our options that are available."

The commission plans to meet on March 12 at the Windsor Locks Town Hall. They could decide to appeal or accept the state's decision.

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