Fired Windsor Locks Officer Getting Job Back

Mediation and Arbitration Board rules town did not have the right to fire Robert Koistinen.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Windsor Locks police sergeant who was fired after being accused of hindering an investigation into his son's involvement in a fatal accident will get his job back.

    The Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration Labor Department ruled on Wednesday that Windsor Locks did not have just cause to fire Sgt. Robert Koistinen in January 2012.

    Koistinen was charged with hindering the probe of an October 2010 accident involving his son, Michael Koistinen, who was also a police officer. He was found not guilty of the hindering charges in October 2012.

    The Board of Mediation and Arbitration ruled on Wednesday that the appropriate discipline for Robert Koistinen is a one-year suspension without pay. The board determined he should be reinstated to his position with back pay and benefits for the time beyond the one-year suspension. That suspension period would have been up in January 2013.

    Michael Koistinen was off-duty and had been drinking the night of the crash that killed 15-year-old Henry Dang, who was on a bicycle, according to state police. The younger Koistinen was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison for the crime.

    Sgt. Robert Koistinen was one of the first officers at the scene of the crash and was accused of taking his son away from the scene of the crash. Michael Koistinen was never given a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test after the crash.

    Witnesses said Sgt. Koistinen did not search for an object that his son had thrown from the vehicle just after the crash. It turned out to be a broken beer glass with beer still in it.

    "The arbitration award speaks for itself," Kevin Brace, chairman of the Windsor Locks Police Commission, said in a statement on Thursday.

    The commission will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday to discuss the ruling and the possibility of pending litigation, Brace said.