Police officers are the ones who uphold the law and maintain order. Civilians look to these men in uniform as their protectors from hooligans and treacherous lowlifes. But what happens when those who have sworn to protect the law break it themselves?
In a bizarre case, four officers of the Mount Carmel Township Police Department, a borough in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, have been suspended indefinitely for an alleged joy ride that went a little too far. The suspensions were confirmed Thursday by township supervisor Chairman Charles Gasperetti, police Chief Brian Hollenbush, and township solicitor Vincent Rovito.
What warranted the suspension of four police officers? The four officers were off-duty September 1, Labor Day, when they were allegedly chased by Kulpmont Patrolman David Tomtishen. It began in the borough, continued through Marion Heights, and led into the surrounding coal lands in Mount Carmel Township, reported PA Homepage. But what really sparked the chase was a firecracker that was allegedly tossed from the vehicle in which these four police officers were present.
According to multiple sources, David Stamets, one of the suspended officers, is accused of driving an unlicensed, unregistered Jeep with his fellow officers as passengers. In what was reportedly meant as a prank on Tomtishen, someone inside the Jeep allegedly tossed a lit firework at his cruiser near the traffic light at Sixth and Chestnut streets.
As the firecracker exploded, Tomtishen activated his cruiser’s emergency lights and siren and a chase ensued. He claims he was completely unaware about the occupants of the jeep at the time of the chase. After a rather lengthy chase, the jeep was intercepted and the officers taken into custody.
Interestingly, of the suspended officers, two are full-time employees of the township, and their suspensions are with pay. The suspensions leave the township with four full-time and two part-time officers. Other part-timers are expected to be added during Wednesday’s township supervisors meeting, reported News Item.
Speaking about the incident, township supervisor Chairman Charles Gasperetti said, “Honestly, they’re human like anyone else and they need to be accountable for their actions. This will be taken care of. This won’t be brushed under the carpet.”
The officers reportedly turned-in their badges. The township does not issue firearms. Firearms are strictly on personal liability, and all officers need to have permits to carry the guns. The town has vowed to take this incident very seriously.
[Image Credit | WNEP]