State Police Make Dubious Arrest of Danbury Officer

DANBURY, Ct. – A Danbury officer has been arrested and charged with reckless driving for using his personal vehicle to chase a stolen SUV, according to state police.

On December 1, 2016, Officer Jamie Hodge (pictured) was in uniform while working a private duty job. During the course of his off-duty employment, he noticed what he believed to be a stolen vehicle, reported NBC Connecticut.

According to a state police investigator, Hodge jumped in his Chevy Tahoe and followed the stolen SUV at a high rate of speed before losing sight of it.

The stolen SUV hit a utility pole on Mountainville Road and rolled over several times. A passenger in the SUV, 26-year-old Tiffany Fitzgerald, was ejected and later died from her injuries.

Ricardo Andre, 33, was the driver of the stolen SUV. He was not seriously injured.

After a months-long investigation, state police determined Hodge endangered the lives of others by driving recklessly while pursuing the stolen SUV.

He was arrested on Friday.

State police said they plan additional charges against Andre for his role in the incident.

(Photo: Connecticut State Police)

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38 Comments

……and so it begins. Blue on Blue war. Senseless and childish. The NYPD Commish needs to step up and end this now.

This was a Danbury, CT Officer arrested by the CT State Police. Though shocking and shameless, it has nothing to do with the NYPD/NYSP war.

If it were one of their members they would remember to loudly protest on the grounds a sworn officer is always on duty. Sounds a little fishy to me. Wonder who this officer or his Dept. made mad?

He steps up and goes above and beyond, then is arrested for it. Setting a dangerous precedent. I guarantee next time on officer sees a criminal in action when he is off the clock he will just step back and let it go.

NYPD? Did you actually read the article? Besides, the arrested officer was completely wrong for engaging in the pursuits in a civilian car.

Discipline maybe… But arrest? Verrry wrong!

A Thousand pardons CJ! PLEASE forgive my mistake. Posted my comment on the wrong article. Can you ever forgive me?

Remember you believe in the law and law states.

Elements of Traffic Stop

“Intent” Person reports for duty, dressed in military style uniform, armed with weapon of destruction…

Accident

Property damage

Bodily injury

Death

Suspicion is not intent

Committee to KILL the Corporate state

As Al Pacino would say, “There’s something reallllly wrong here!”

Every Police Officer’s first reaction is to get the bad guy. That intent is good and righteous. Decisions that are made in seconds on scene are Monday morning quarterbacked as usual. Yes, following a vehicle in your personal vehicle may be against policy and may be against the attorney general guidelines but keep in mind these are guidelines. The criminal who stole the vehicle set the events to follow in motion by committing the criminal act in the first place. We are quick to criticize police actions today. The Police Office followed the vehicle and lost sight of it, subsequently the stolen vehicle crashed and it’s passenger, who was also committing a criminal act, was ejected and passed away. The courts will have to prove the culpability of the officer and his intent. Was he negligent in his actions or compelled by his office and duty to seek apprehension of this criminal actor? Should he have observed and reported or taken action? Is it reasonable that he attempt to catch up to vehicle in an effort to obtain the license plate and verify if the vehicle was involved in another felonies? I think arrest of this officer is an overstep and sends the wrong message to law enforcement.

I agree, Thomas. Also, if he saw the stolen vehicle, did NOT pursue it and the stolen vehicle’s driver then killed a pedestrian a half mile down the road, the off duty officer would have been (rightfully) punished by his department for ignoring a felony in progress.

This is another damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. I would try to keep this vehicle in view while calling 911 and giving them all the info they need to intercept and stop these felons. I do not condone chasing anyone while in a vehicle that does not have lights and siren but it does happen. One just must be safe doing so and be able to show that he/she was fully aware of the risks vs rewards and that nobody above him ordered him to stop. He should NOT have been given a ticket. Any punishment should be given by his Dept. if they so desire.

You cannot legally engage in pursuit unless you have lights and sirens which are activated and I doubt he had those on his personal car. And shame on the CSP for once again playing the bad guy due to fear of the public perception. Too late, your already hated for just being the police. It’s a shame tho that the driver will only get a slap on the wrist and he was probably out of jail with a small bond thanks to Malloys new rule of hold nobody on bonds.

Exactly my thoughts Steve. The legal definition of a pursuit is with a police vehicle with lights and siren activated.

That is absolutely B.S.!!!! They must have it out for this officer….this is absolute chickenshit!!

Driving recklessly in his POV while chasing a stolen vehicle was wrong. His heart may have been in the right place, but his head wasnt

The driver of the stolen vehicle should be the one to be facing vehicular homicide charges for stealing the vehicle and because of his excessive speeding and reckless driving placing his passengers in danger causing the vehicle to crash hence causing the death of the passenger. The driver had the opportunity to pull over and stop the vehicle at any time but didn’t.

I call BS on this arrest. I’m not a police officer, but I do expect that on ir off duty they will react to suppress crime in its entirety, always on duty. The death of the passenger is on the driver of the stolen vehicle.

If he lost sight of t he stolen vehicle prior to the crash, the pursuit ended prior to the crash and therefore was not the proximate cause of the crash. The crash would be solely caused by the recklessness of the driver and his guilt ridden mind and he should also get a murder 1 charge since his passenger died due to his actions in the commission of a felony.

Totally correct! The pursuit was over! 5 minutes, or 5 hours, it was over. Maybe the off duty Officer was the wrong color?

Supreme Court decisions, Scott v Harris and others, defend pursuits. Now these are marked police vehicles of course. But the SCOTUS has said cops are not expected to sit idly by while fleeing bad guys drive recklessly so the police must stop. There’s another case that escapes me that says as long as there’s no police intervention (Ramming or PIT), that they cannot be held liable for consequences. So there isn’t any prayer of the officer being held criminally or even civilly responsible.

I won’t say any comments on the officer’s actions in this. But I’d be surprised if it doesn’t start occurring more in this anti-police atmosphere.
According to my department’s rules when I was working, you were considered on duty if there was a felony crime involved.
In other words, you are required to take police action for a felony in your city.
And now, if you do take the required action, you might get arrested.
In other words, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

OK, I will make one comment, if he was not in a patrol car at the time of the pursuit, I do believe that his actions were reckless.

If the officer didn’t report the crime they would get him for that. Connecticut is a ultraliberal anti gun shitty state anyway

They’re really going for blood …I see this arrest as something personal and unnecessary. Something is going on behind the scenes. Definitely should not have pursued but that could be handled via internal discipline

I’m sure it was csp decision not his department’s.

You are never off duty when your an officer of the law. The driver of the stolen SUV should be charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving to fast. Great Job Officer

Typical CSP. I’m a previous Blue victim of theirs

I believe CSP is wrong on this. The off-duty Officer should have called in his suspicions and even then follow this suspected stolen vehicle if possible but because it was not a vehicle equipped with lights and sirens, he cannot actually pursue this vehicle at those speeds. Sorry the young girl died but the person responsible was the Driver and Driver alone.

I thought a sworn officer is a officer 24/7 what if he was pursuing a abduction in progress? Or a homicide/murder suspect? Or a criminal who committed a serious criminal act against a high ranking politician?

Or a subject that victimized the CSP….Medal would have been forthcoming.

What a joke. Pathetic. Slow death of America

Hmmmmm, so does the CSP routinely target other LEO’s. I happened to be visiting CT last week and was stopped by CSP and was treated fairly and given a professional courtesy one he found out I was an officer from California, maybe I was lucky from the sounds of this thread. The actions in this case are suspect though. The officer should not have, “pursued” the vehicle. Yea, by definition he can’t in his POV, but we all know what he was doing. I also agree that if they are going to call this a pursuit, then all rules apply, especially the fact that the pursuit was terminated once he lost sight of the suspect vehicle. The subsequent crash is solely on the driver of the stolen vehicle, that’s basic law enforcement. I’m sure the back story will come out.

Lady I remember a Police Officer is always on Duty and they have the due diligence to protect life and property. This officer was doing his job above and beyond what some would have done but most of us would have done the same. I’ve called local Police as I’ve followed a drunk driver and got transferred to as many as 7 different agencies before the vehicle wrecked. Take the tools away from our Police and it weakens our defense against criminals. If it were up to me there would be no markings on any Police vehicles so the criminal would get a nice surprise. People’s lives are placed in danger every time they and let’s face it, most people don’t even know what to properly do when say the Police behind them. I am grateful that this officer did his job instead of waiting for no one to respond!!!

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