Without comment or discussion, City Council voted 4-0 on Tuesday night to terminate the employment of suspended police officer Jeffrey Rogers.
Rogers, 58, a 17-year veteran of the department, was first suspended after he accidentally fired his service weapon in the men’s locker room at police headquarters, then concealed his mistake and lied about it, according to police officials.
Only council can make a decision to fire an officer.
Councilmen David DiGiacinto, Robert Donchez, Eric Evans and J. William Reynolds voted for termination. The other three members of council – Jean Belinski, Karen Dolan and Gordon Mowrer – were not permitted to vote because they did not attend an October 17 hearing, during which council heard two hours of testimony on the case.
Rogers did not attend that hearing either. A letter from his attorney to council indicated that he intends to appeal his discipline in federal court, where he has already filed a lawsuit.
The single gunshot, fired at about 9:40 a.m. on December 30, prompted a nervous 20-minute search of police headquarters and City Hall for a shooter or a victim, of which neither were found, according to hearing testimony.
Ultimately, a bullet hole was found in the ceiling above a men’s room stall in the locker room and investigators were able to determine what had happened. Rogers did not admit to what happened until hours later, according to testimony.
While Rogers failed to follow proper procedures for handling his weapon, the reason for seeking termination was that he lied about it, according to Police Commissioner Jason Schiffer.