Hartford Officer Being Investigated Has History of Problems - NBC Connecticut

Hartford Officer Being Investigated Has History of Problems



    Officer Will Smith, who is under investigation for allegedly missing a body of a man shot to death on Linmoore Street in Hartford, has been disciplined in the past. (Published Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013)

    One of the Hartford police officers under investigation for failing to find a body at a crime scene has had disciplinary problems in the past.

    NBC Connecticut obtained Officer William Smith's personnel file from the city, which details a prior suspension and other reprimands.

    Smith responded to reports of shots fired on Linnmoore Street in August, and his actions are now part of an ongoing internal affairs investigation regarding the overall police response that night, according to a police source familiar with the probe.

    Smith was one of two officers who responded to the scene and failed to discover a dead body. Residents called 911 again the next day after locating the body in a yard on the 300 block of Linnmoore Street.

    In his police report, which is now part of his extensive personnel file, Smith claims he "canvassed the area for any shell casings, evidence, witnesses or suspects" and that he and another officer "knocked on a few doors."

    The internal probe is investigating to determine whether Smith lied in his report, according to a police source.

    "Right now, as far as I know, there's no action taken against any officer that responded to that scene," said Sgt. Richard Holton, president of the Hartford Police Union.

    Smith's file shows it's not the only time he's run into problems on the job.

    According to records in his personnel file, Smith returned to duty in June after Chief James Rovella handed him a 200-workday suspension for three prior incidents.

    Because he didn't fight the penalty, and for other reasons, the records indicate he was allowed to return to work after 100 work days.

    In the first incident that led to his suspension, Smith ended up with a misdemeanor criminal conviction for second-degree breach of peace. Records show he admitted to sending a threatening letter to another man that included a bullet and a note saying, "don't mess with another man's wife. Watch ur back [sic]."
    Records show he could have been fired for the offense.

    The second incident happened in April 2012. Records show that Smith failed to properly wear his uniform, read comics and repeatedly used his cellphone during a private-duty job at Stop & Shop.

    In September 2012, Smith left the body of a homicide victim and evidence unattended at St. Francis Hospital and then lied about it, records show.

    The question now, after the latest incident on Linnmoore Street, is why does Smith still have a job?

    "If there's a question as to why he's still here, that's something you'd have to ask the chief," said Sgt. Holton. "The chief made an offer as far as his last discipline case goes, he accepted it, he took his discipline and now he's back at work. I think he's learned from it."

    Records show that Smith has also received at least five oral or written reprimands for other issues.

    Smith has not returned a request for comment. Hartford Police Chief James Rovella declined an interview.

    The mayor's office declined to comment on the case.

    Get the latest from NBC Connecticut anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android