New Milford police officer seeks accelerated rehabilitation with hopes he can get his job back
Published 8:35 pm, Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Police officer Brant Cadovius is seeking accelerated rehabilitation to settle charges that he threatened and tried to extort money from a teenager who admitted to taking his wallet and badge in August 2009.
Officer Cadovius, 40, was in state Superior Court in Danbury on Wednesday morning for what was his 11th appearance in the criminal case.
The New Milford policeman was charged in July with fourth-degree criminal attempt to commit larceny and second-degree harassment.
In December, the charges were upgraded to third-degree larceny, second-degree threatening and second-degree harassment. It is those charges that are currently pending against him.
Prosecutor David Holzbach said his office intends to object.
Accelerated rehabilitation is a program that avoids a plea of guilt, and if the person charged meets conditions of probation not to exceed two years the charges are dismissed.
In Officer Cadovius' case, the accelerated rehabilitation program is an important step because it will avoid a conviction that would most certainly derail his 17-year law enforcement career.
A state Supreme Court decision in November states employers cannot use accelerated rehabilitation as the sole reason to terminate employment.
A Sherman resident, Officer Cadovius' case started with leaving his wallet with about $400 cash, credit cards and his police badge on a train he was riding with two of his children at the Danbury Fair mall, police said.
The 11-page arrest affidavit said Officer Cadovius tracked down the train operator who admitted taking the cash from the wallet, and then throwing it and the badge away.
Officer Cadovius reported this to the police, and police arranged for the teenage boy to return the money.
Police statements say Officer Cadovius was not satisfied with that restitution.
He demanded $2,000, and made a threat against the boy if he did not comply, police said.
The boy's parents apparently made a recording of some of Officer Cadovius' comments, police said, and filed a complaint with the police that resulted in the policeman's arrest.
The boy was never charged with theft.
Since his arrest, the twice-decorated, 10-year New Milford police veteran who earns an annual salary of $63,569 has been on a paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his criminal case.
Officer Cadovius has been advised not to discuss the case, but he has long indicated a desire to resolve the matter so he can return to his job.
He has attended two promotional ceremonies for fellow officers, and the ceremony to appoint the new chief, Shawn Boyne, who took the oath of office in October.
"I love the job; I miss it,'' Officer Cadovius said outside the courtroom as he waited for the pre-trial hearing to commence on Wednesday. "This has been a very stressful situation.''
Once the case is settled, though, Officer Cadovius is not off the hook.
Mayor Patricia Murphy said she wants an internal investigation to determine if Officer Cadovius' actions meet department standards of conduct. She said those findings will determine whether he keeps his job.
The mayor said she dislikes paying employees when they are not working, but accepts administrative leaves with pay are the standard practice for assuring that employees' rights are protected pending final disciplinary action.
"He was placed on leave because there is a question of his ability to do the job he has, and that is the standard across the state of Connecticut,'' Mayor Murphy said. "I was ready to not pay him as soon as he was charged, but he has not been proven guilty, and people have rights ... on the advice of counsel, this is what we do.''
This is not the first time the town has had to place an employee on paid administrative leave, but because this case involves the criminal justice system it has taken longer than some might prefer, Mayor Murphy said.
"I like the swift route," she said, "but our court system doesn't seem to be moving as fast as I would like.''
Chief Boyne said the case predates his administration, and he intends to wait for the judicial process to conclude before he takes any other step.
"(Officer Cadovius) is entitled to due process,'' the chief said.