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Darien Officers Charged In Shooting Receive Suspensions

James Martin Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police
Daniel Ehret Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

DARIEN, Conn. -- Two Darien police officers who were arrested in a shooting incident last summer have received retroactive suspensions and other restrictions from the Darien Police Department after an internal affairs investigation, police announced. Both still face criminal charges in connection with the incident.

James Martin, 41, and Daniel Ehret, 39, have been on administrative leave since Aug. 1, 2015. On that date police were called to Martin's home in Darien on reports of the two men discharging a personally owned firearm at a vehicle owned by Martin that was parked in his driveway, according to police. Both officers were off-duty at the time.

When they arrived on scene, police reported that there were bullet holes in the side of the unoccupied vehicle. The two were arrested by state police in October. According to a report in the Darien Times, the two men gave off an odor of alcohol at the scene .

Martin and Ehret were placed on administrative leave while an internal affairs investigation was launched. Police said that the officers cooperated fully with the investigation. The matter was referred to the Police Commission, per the Department's General Orders, and hearings were to be held Monday and Thursday, police said. Agreements were reached Monday with both the officers and the Police Union regarding disposition of the charges, police said.

The two will return to work with disciplinary suspensions of 60 days, conditions on their work for the next 60 days, restrictions on promotions and special assignments for two years, and the potential for termination without the right of appeal if there are repeat violations of Departmental General Orders for the next five years, police announced. The suspensions are retroactive, with the officers reimbursing the Town of Darien for 60 days of they pay and benefits received while they were on administrative leave, police said.

Martin and Ehret are still facing charges in connection to the shooting incident. Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree breach of peace, second-degree unlawful discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment. They will reappear in court on March 31.

"The Police Commission thinks that this is an effective solution for the officers, the Department, and the Town. The incident was thoroughly investigated and this settlement balances the gravity of the situation against the officers' years of laudable service," Police Commission Chairman Paul Johnson said.

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