New Canaan Police Officer Arrested on Explosives, Weapons Charges: Officials

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A New Canaan police officer has been arrested after explosives were found at his Stratford home, according to the Fairfield state’s attorney, and he has been placed on leave from the police department.

David W. Rivera, a New Canaan police officer, was arrested on Thursday on a warrant charging him with illegal possession of explosives, illegal storage of explosives, illegal possession of an assault weapon, illegal storage of a firearm and three counts of improper transfer of a firearm, according to Fairfield state’s attorney Joseph Corradino.

During a search of Rivera’s home, police found high explosives improperly stored, Corradino said, citing an arrest warrant affidavit.

The state’s attorney said Rivera is alleged to have used the explosives in his business training working dogs for various organizations and the warrant states that he had no permit for the possession of the high explosives and also had an assault weapon.

"These are extremely serious charges, six felonies, as your honor can see," the prosecution said. "There were an enormous amount of explosive3s that were found at the defendant's home."

Rivera was placed on leave from the New Canaan Police Department and is presently prohibited from serving as an active-duty New Canaan police officer, according to the police department.

Authorities said Rivera lives in Stratford and owns Black Rock Canines in Naugatuck, which according to its website, breeds and trains dogs including those who detect narcotics and explosives.

David Rivera has been a police officer for nine years, and is now off the job after being arrested on explosive and weapon charges.

Rivera's lawyer argued those reasons for his possession of them.

“He’s a dog trainer. He trains dogs for law enforcement for both state local and federal authorities. It is my understanding he has a favorable reputation as a dog trainer," his lawyer said.

According to Rivera's arrest warrant, a former and a current colleague reported their concerns to state police about how explosives were kept at Black Rock Canines, and later moved to Rivera's home garage in Stratford, without proper licensing or carrying cases.

This led to bomb squad troopers, members of the FBI and the ATF searching his home. Police said they found a long list of explosive material, including TNT flake.

The leading detective wrote in the arrest warrant that Rivera said he was under the impression he didn't have to have any licensing to have these explosives because "he had a badge."

The police department said the investigation involved off-duty conduct and Rivera will remain on leave pending adjudication of any criminal case and the completion of an internal investigation.

The Stratford Police Department, the Naugatuck Police Department, the Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crime Squad, and the State Police Bomb Squad were involved in the investigation.

Rivera was arraigned in Bridgeport Superior Court Friday afternoon. The judge kept his bond at $250,000.

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