Two years after a former Windsor Locks police sergeant lost his job for helping his son leave the scene of a deadly crash, state officials ruled that he should be rehired – but the police commission is pushing back.
The Windsor Locks Police Commission announced at a public hearing Wednesday night that it will appeal the state Labor Board ruling to reinstate Robert Koistinen, who was fired in 2012.
The controversy stems from a fatal accident in Oct. 2010. Authorities say Koistinen’s son, an officer in the department, was drinking when he struck and killed a 15-year-old on his dirt bike. Koistinen is accused of driving his son away from the scene and was charged with hindering prosecution.
Koistinen was placed on paid leave following the crash. He was fired in Oct. 2012 and later acquitted of all charges.
The former sergeant filed a lawsuit against the state in January claiming he was wrongly arrested. Last month, the state Labor Board ruled that Koistinen should get his job back.
But tonight the Windsor Locks Police Commission said it’s appealing that ruling, calling it an “erroneous decision… that is not in the best interests of the Windsor Locks Police Department or the Residents of Windsor Locks,” according to a statement released by the commission.
It goes on to cite “significant mistakes in judgment… committed by the sergeant in question” and argues that reinstating Koistinen would “weaken the public perception of the competence of our Police Department and the confidence of our officers in their supervisors.”
Many residents who attended the public hearing sided with the commission.
“This guy doesn’t deserve to hold any kind of public office,” said Windsor Locks resident Karren Zenzick. “None where it has to do with another person’s life, another person’s family.”
Kimberly Peasz agreed.
“I can’t see the effectiveness of him ever being in a cruiser again,” she said.
Koistinen’s son, Michael Koistinen, is currently serving jail time.