Source: Sherman Publications

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Village cop resigns after Tasering dispatcher

by CJ Carnacchio

May 11, 2011

An Oxford Village Police officer is out of a job after accidentally shooting a dispatcher with a Taser on Easter morning.

Officer Mark Lampkowski, "voluntarily resigned" from the department following a May 3 disciplinary hearing, according to Police Chief Mike Neymanowski.

"He was a hard-working officer and did everything right, but he screwed up on this one," he said.

Lampkowski, a part-time officer since 2004, was spark testing his Taser a routine procedure to ensure the unit is working properly when it fired and struck part-time dispatcher Justin Moser inside the police station, according to the chief.

A Taser is an electroshock weapon that uses electric current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles.

Neymanowski described the impact on Moser as "painful," but not long in duration.

"After Officer Lampkowski realized (what happened), he shut it down," he explained. "Moser didn't take the full 5-second ride. He took, maybe, about a 2-second ride, which is still enough."

Although the taser was pointed in Moser's direction, the chief said Lampkowski did not purposely shoot it at him.

"I thoroughly investigated this and there was nothing deliberate," Neymanowski said. "I know 100 percent it wasn't deliberate."

Although the shooting was not deliberate, the chief characterized it as "bad judgment, lacking common sense or just plain negligence."

"That's how I defined this particular incident," he said.

Lampkowski violated the department's rules of conduct by "committing unsafe acts or endangering self or others," according to Neymanowski.

Tasers are supposed to be spark tested in a "secured area" and not pointed toward anyone, the chief noted.

At the end of the disciplinary hearing, the chief said he gave Lampkowski the option of either being terminated or resigning.

"One way or the other, I told him, your job here as a police officer is through," Neymanowski said. "For me, that's my rules. I don't know how other agencies would do it, but . . . you don't point a weapon, especially at another officer."

"You can't tolerate things like that," the chief noted. "It broke a cardinal rule of being a police officer."

The chief said he gave Lampkowski the option to resign, so "it's not jeopardizing his future endeavors in law enforcement, if he wanted to pursue that."

A May 3 memo written by the chief and distributed to all department members indicated that Lampkowski was terminated.

"The matter was resolved with disciplinary action and is closed," Neymanowski wrote. "If there is a need for any of you to talk further about why Mark was relieved from this department, please discuss your issues with me."

When asked why the memo stated that Lampkowski had been terminated as opposed to resigning, the chief said, "I'll be honest with you, I probably prematurely gave out that memo."

"(Lampkowski) came into my office the next day (May 4), we sat down, we talked further and I accepted his resignation," Neymanowski said. "I'm officially putting it as a voluntary resignation."