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Police Chief reveals text message that led to Hartford detective suspension

The officer is accused of sending a text message to a group of other officers proposing a wager about where the city's first homicide will happen.

HARTFORD, Conn — After being charged with violating the police code of conduct, a Hartford Officer has been demoted and suspended for 120 days. 

Police Chief Jason Thody made the announcement on Monday. Detective Jeffrey Placzek has been suspended without pay for 120 days and will make his return to the department on passing a fitness for duty evaluation as well as completing a restorative justice program, added Thody. 

Placzek was removed from the Major Crimes Division on Friday by Thody and charged him with conduct unbecoming of a Police Officer after proposing a wager regarding where the capital city's first homicide will be in 2021. The chief said Placzek sent the text message to officers in the department. Thody said the ongoing investigation is expected to be done by next week. 

Hartford police released a screen shot of the text. 

Credit: FOX61
Hartford Police Detective text

Lt. Paul Cicero who supervises the Major Crimes Division was one of the officers that received the text message and has been removed from his role as the Department's Public Information Officer. He has also been suspended from overseeing the Major Crimes Division pending the outcome of the investigation. Cicero could also face additional discipline based on the outcome of the investigation along with the other supervisors who received the text message. 

“Officer Placzek’s conduct was unacceptable and damaging both to our department and our community, and today I am demoting him and imposing a four month suspension without pay,” said Chief Thody. “It is critical that every member of the Hartford Police Department conduct themselves in a way that builds and strengthens a relationship of trust with our community, and this conduct undermined that relationship and undermined the work of every single officer on our force.  In addition to his demotion and lengthy suspension, I am also making his return to the department contingent on passing a fitness for duty evaluation and participation in a community-based restorative justice program, which we will design in consultation with community leaders."

Placzek is a 16-year veteran of the Hartford Police Department. He had no prior disciplinary record beyond one documented counseling related to an incident when damaged an elevator button with his foot, which self-reported. 

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin released his own statement on the incident Monday night: 

“The officer who sent this message demonstrated a profound disrespect for our community and a deeply troubling lack of judgment. Chief Thody has imposed serious discipline, including both demotion in rank and a lengthy four-month suspension without pay, which I support, and I expect that additional discipline will be coming for supervisors who received this message and failed to take action.”   

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