FALMOUTH – The Falmouth Police Department has a severe staffing shortage after three officers were found guilty of misconduct and are no longer with the department.
A recently released internal affairs report details an incident that took place on the July fourth weekend.
The officers were veterans of the department. Sergeant Scott Hartzler and Officer Kurt Baumann had both been with the department for 15 years. Officer Eric Kraus had been with the department for 20 years.
Officer Joshua Oliver, who was disciplined over the incident but is still with the department, was hired in 2012.
The officers were placed on paid leave during the investigation.
In the incident, Officer Mark Mancini had confiscated fireworks on July 6 but failed to enter the fireworks as evidence. The fireworks had been left out and were taken by Officer Kraus. He and the other disciplined officers took the fireworks to the 7-Eleven across the street from the station and set them off.
Falmouth Police Chief Edward Dunne said the incident had an effect on all the personnel in the department.
“It really does effect morale all around, from the command staff all the way down to the patrolmen. On this particular night, these individuals made some really poor judgement calls,” Chief Dunne said.
The officers were out of work for the months during which the internal affairs report was prepared by Captain Jeffrey Smith.
“To lose four officers in the height of our season was stressful and a strain on the department. But I would like to say the men and women of the Falmouth Police Department stepped up, did what needed to be done and are really professional,” he said.
Now that three of the officers are no longer with the department, Dunne said the department is awaiting the addition of four officers that have been hired and are currently in the police academy and four more who will go into the next class of the academy.
He said right now the department has 31 uniformed patrol officers and two detectives. There are a total of 48 officers, short 10 from the 58 funded positions, he said.