Suspended Bristol police officer quits

BRISTOL — After a nearly five-week suspension from the Bristol Police Department, and the recommendation that he be “disciplined,” Sgt. George “Randy” Crowe has resigned.
Crowe officially left the department on Nov. 11, but Bristol officials would not comment on his employment status until more than a month later.
“Sgt. Crowe decided to resign after Police Chief (Bruce) Nason recommended to the (Bristol) selectboard that Sgt. Crowe be disciplined,” said Bristol town administrator Valerie Capels in a Dec. 16 email to the Independent. “The specifics of the chief’s recommendation and the reasons for it were the subject of executive sessions of the selectboard and are considered confidential unless we are advised otherwise by our counsel.”
At its Oct. 7 meeting, the selectboard voted to schedule a hearing (eventually scheduled for Nov. 4), when the board would determine whether Crowe was “guilty of negligence, dereliction of duty or conduct unbecoming an officer, and if so, determine appropriate discipline,” according to that meeting’s minutes.
The board also decided at that time to suspend Crowe “from duty/employment, with pay, effectively immediately, and at least until the hearing now set.”
After the Nov. 4 hearing, “discussions eventually resulted in agreed-upon terms for a resignation,” Capels wrote on Dec. 16. “As it was a personnel matter, the town was compelled to withhold comment.”
On Nov. 18, a week after Crowe had resigned, the selectboard approved a severance agreement between the town and the former officer.
“He received one week’s base pay and 44 hours of ‘comp’ time pay,” Capels said in her Dec. 16 email. “No other payments were included.”
When asked if Crowe had been disciplined as a result of the hearing, Capels said that “the resignation rendered any discipline unnecessary.”
Capels declined to say whether or not Crowe had previously been disciplined.
The Independent was unable to reach Crowe for comment in time for this story.
Crowe was hired by the BPD in 1994 and was promoted to sergeant in 2012. Earlier this year he was recognized by the selectboard for 25 years of dedicated service to the department and the community.
At the moment, he is also a defendant, along with former Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs and the town of Bristol, in a federal civil suit filed last March by Bristol residents Tyler Westbrook and Piper Wallace Westbrook, who accused him of, among other things, using excessive force, making an unlawful arrest and committing assault and battery in an incident that occurred outside a Bristol business in 2016, according to documents obtained from the U.S. District Court in Vermont.
The Bristol Police Department is currently accepting applications for full-time police officers. No rank is specified and all qualified candidates will be considered, Capels said.
In addition to paying Crowe during his five-week suspension, the BPD has had to pay overtime to other officers to make up for his absence, Nason confirmed earlier this month. Nason anticipated that the department would need to continue doing so until the staffing situation is resolved.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected]

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