The Board of Police Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to fire two narcotics officers who are the subject of federal corruption charges.
At a closed-door hearing at the New Haven Police Department, the commissioners considered Chief Francisco Ortiz’s request that Lt. William “Billy” White and Detective Justen Kasperzyk be fired for their alleged crimes, which were committed in the course of their work on the force. Before Ortiz made his request last week, White filed for retirement, while Kasperzyk, who has not worked long enough for regular retirement, had applied for disability pension.
Commission chair Richard Epstein said the commissioners came to their decision without difficulty.
“The preponderance of the evidence was such that the commissioners saw it that the firing of the officers was justified,” he said. “We stand by our officers but sometimes things happen and we deal with those on an as-need basis.”
The decision reportedly drew criticism from police union leaders because of alleged infringements of their union contract. Union president Sgt. Louis Cavaliere told the media after the meeting that White was retired the day he handed in his retirement papers, while the city contends he is not retired until the retirement board approves his request.
White is already guaranteed a yearly pension of $91,000, and if Kasperzyk’s disability pension is approved by the retirement board, he will be set to receive $41,000 annually. Had they not been fired, though, they would have been eligible to buy back unused sick and vacation time, which for White totalled $54,461, and for Kasperzyk totaled $34,622.
White is charged with felony charges of bribery conspiracy and stealing government funds over $1,000. Kasperzyk is charged with the misdemeanor of stealing government funds under $1,000.