Cops suspended after failing drug tests
BRIDGEPORT -- The Police Department's Narcotics and Vice Unit is facing possible shutdown after two members of the unit's Tactical Narcotics Team were suspended after testing positive for drug use.
Chief Joseph Gaudett confirmed Thursday that officers Ivan Clayton and David Uliano, assigned to the enforcement arm of the department's Narcotics and Vice Unit, have been suspended with pay but wouldn't elaborate.
"I can tell you that I have two personnel problems,'' the chief said. "Officer Ivan Clayton and Officer David Uliano have been placed on administrative leave, with pay.''
Police officials would not confirm the unit is being shut down, however officers in the 18-man unit said they were told by their union and police officials to begin clearing out their desks Thursday.
Police sources said all members of narcotics unit were ordered by the city's Office of Internal Affairs to undergo drug testing recently and both Clayton and Uliano tested positive for drug use. OIA investigators then conducted a search of the River Street offices of narcotics and vice.
Gaudett was meeting late Thursday with Capt. A.J. Perez, the head of the narcotics unit, representatives of the city's attorney's office and with members of Bridgeport Police Union Local 1159, to discuss how to proceed, the sources said. Among the options being weighed are to disband the Tactical Narcotics Team and to have State Police handle those investigations, sources said.
Uliano, 41, of Derby, was placed on administrative leave last fall after a video briefly surfaced that allegedly showed Uliano in a loud dispute with a woman. He and five other officers were cleared of excessive force charges in a 2004 domestic violence case in which a man was fatally shot.
Uliano, an 18-year veteran of the department and son of a police officer, was honored with his partner Sgt. Jason Amato on May 25, 2010, as one of Bridgeport Hospital's 2010 Fairfield County Heroes for their investigative work, which led to more than 140 drug and firearm arrests on the city's East Side.
Under the police union's latest contract, which expired June 30 but remains in effect, the chief can suspend an officer for up to 15 days, but the Board of Police Commissioners holds disciplinary hearings. Officers placed on administrative leave, under the contract, may be reassigned during their leave to "inside'' work and are not eligible for most overtime work.
The contract specifies that officers assigned to the narcotics and vice divisions are subject to random drug testing "using approved laboratory procedures.''
Union president Chuck Paris was not immediately available for comment Thursday.In July, TNT officers seized 35 pounds of marijuana and an assault rifle following the arrest of a Stratford man in the city.