Fired Wilton cop’s grievance is denied
The Wilton Police Commission held a hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 19, to hear a grievance filed by Steven Zawacki who was teminated from his patrol officer position with the Wilton Police Department on Oct. 16 for lying about an underage drinking party.
John Miller, the police union’s attorney, claimed Zawacki’s discipline (termination) was excessive and inconsistent with prior disciplinary actions. Zawacki did not attend the hearing.
The commission voted to deny the grievance.
Following the hearing, Wilton Police Chief John Lynch said he did not know if an appeal of the commission’s decision was planned.
Zawacki was with the Wilton Police Department since 2015. An internal affairs investigation concluded Zawacki violated four standard operating procedures: dishonesty or untruthfulness, competent performance, insubordination, and deactivating a body camera prior to the conclusion of an incident.
The claims stemmed from an incident in August 2019, where Zawacki, as the primary officer, and a backup officer responded to a Wilton home late at night based on a noise complaint.
According to the report, when officers arrived at the address it was apparent that a large party of 100 minors was taking place, hosted by an 18-year old minor resident, with no parents present. When police arrived, youths were seen running from the home and there was a beer can and other alcohol containers in the yard, indicating there was alcohol consumption by minors on the premises.
After speaking with the minor resident who admitted there was alcohol at the party, Zawacki abruptly shut off his body camera before the police visit had ended, according to the report. Zawacki never entered the residence, took no action, and no arrests or citations were issued.
According to the report, Zawacki did not perform any substantive investigation at the residence, did not notify a supervisor about what was going on there, did not take any enforcement action, and did not take any steps to ensure the safety of minors who remained at the home.
The report further found that when Zawacki was later questioned by two shift supervisors about what occurred at the residence, he gave misleading information and half-truths, saying he took no action on the call because there was no alcohol present.
In 2018, in an unrelated matter, the commission issued Zawacki a 90-day suspension without pay for having an inappropriate relationship and harassment in the workplace.