Police Lieutenant Reduced in Rank

This is the result of the trial before the police commission, which provided the opening for Walter to become Sergeant (first written about here, here, and here).

1931 07 - Lt Sucek Reduced to Ridgefield Ranks p1Police Lieut. Sucek Found Guilty, Is Reduced in Rank

Ridgefield Commissioners Announce Penalty Taking Effect Immediately

Police Lieutenant Joseph Sucek, who was given a hearing before the police committee of Ridgefield Borough Council on charges of having released a prisoner without consulting his superiors, yesterday was reduced in rank, and at 4 p. m. became a patrolman.

Lieut. Sucek was detailed to desk duty at police headquarters.  He now will do street duty.  The complaint on which he was dismissed was the first to be made against him.

It was understood last night that with the demotion of Sucek, the office of police lieutenant in Hidgfield [sic] would be abandoned for the time being, and that, instead, three men from the ranks would be appointed to be sergeants.  Before such appointments are made, a competitive exam will be held.

The complete report of the police committee and its finding is as follows:

1931 07 - Lt Sucek Reduced to Ridgefield Ranks p2The Charges

“In the matter of charges against Lieut. Joseph Sucek, which were brought before the police commission of the borough of Ridgefield, at a meeting held July 21, in the borough clerk’s office, the said police commission find Lieut. Joseph Sucek guilty of the charges preferred by Police Supervisor George F. Darrow.  They being as follows:

“The said Lieut. Joseph Sucek, having been assigned to desk duty, tour 8 a. m. to 4 p. m., July 18, 1930, failed to properly detain in custody one Charles Kirkland, arrested by Patrolman Arthur Kalbhonn [sic], Shield No. 3, charged with being a suspicious person and operating an automobile without an owner’s or driver’s license.  And failed and neglected to have said prisoner arraigned before the recorder at the earliest possible moment, as required by the rules and regulations under Part 5, paragraph 15, general rules.

“The said Lieut. Joseph Sucek having in his custody one Charles Kirkland, apprehended for a criminal offense, failed and neglected to properly safeguard said prisoner and released him from custody in violation of rules and regulations, part 5, paragraph 42.  Complainant,
“GEORGE F. DARROW, supervisor.

“Witnesses Patrolman Arthur Kalbhenn, Patrolman August Keil.

“The evidence and testimony proved that Lieut. Sucek neglected his duty and violated the rules, in connection with the release of the prisoner, Charles Kirkland, held on a charge of being a suspicious person and operating an automobile without an operator’s or owner’s license on July 18, at Broad and Edgewater avenues, Ridgefield.

Realize Danger

“In considering the evidence in this case the police commission realize the serious consequences which may result from having this dangerous criminal at large.  Kirkland at the time of arrest had a stolen car in his possession.  He also had four stolen tires and rims, had burglarized three garages to accomplish the theft of the tires and rims, and was sought by the Paterson police for many burglaries committed in that city.

“Lieut. Sucek, before releasing the prisoner, made no attempt to ascertain these facts, nor did he consult with his superior officer on the subject.  These facts indicate that the inefficiency of his administration of police business, as a police lieutenant, is detrimental to the welfare of the borough of Ridgefield, and to the discipline of the police force.

“Lieut. Sucek is hereby reduced in rank from lieutenant to patrolman, to take effect immediately.  He is placed on probation with the police supervisor as patrolman for a period of six months from date.  At the expiration of this probationary period the police commission will call on the police supervisor for a report as to whether or not he believes that, by proper application to duty, Joseph Sucek is qualified to be a superior officer in the department, or shall remain a patrolman.


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