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Police captain remains on paid leave since 2011

Date: 5/24/2013

By Carley Dangona

WEST SPRINGFIELD — A police captain remains on paid leave due to an investigation that has been pending since late 2011.

According to Mayor Gregory Neffinger, Capt. Daniel O'Brien has been on paid administrative leave since the end of former mayor Edward Gibson's term, due to a pending investigation into an alleged incident of misconduct with a female patron of the 2011 Big E.

The mayor explained that the department had hoped to conduct its own internal investigation, but that it has been unable to receive any details from the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston. The office has yet to confirm or deny an inquiry even exists.

Since there is no "light duty clause" for police officers, O'Brien has remained on paid administrative leave. He, along with Capt. Daniel Spaulding and then Capt. Ronald Campurciani, were all finalists in the search for a replacement for retired Chief Thomas Burke last year. Campurciani was selected and now serves as chief for the department.

The mayor stated that the department plans to review its procedures to implement changes to handle future incidents in a more efficient manner. "In order to change things, there are multiple channels [of review]," Neffinger said, referring to the police union and the need to meet its standards.

"It's very expensive to have a full-time captain being paid and not working," Neffinger added.