Naugatuck officer resigns before termination hearing

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Naugatuck police Officer Thomas Grant resigned Thursday night prior to a termination hearing.

NAUGATUCK — A borough police officer facing termination has resigned.

Officer Thomas Grant resigned prior to a Police Commission termination hearing Thursday night. The resignation followed an inquiry into a domestic violence report.

Grant, 39, was put on paid administrative Jan. 25 after being arrested following an altercation with his live-in girlfriend. According to the arrest warrant, Grant punched her in the face, pulled out a chunk of her hair, and threatened to kill her and himself while drunk.

Grant was on leave until April 4, when he had a hearing with the human resources department. Since then, Grant has been on unpaid leave.

Shortly after the hearing started, Grant submitted his letter of resignation to Chief of Police Christopher Edson.

The letter states “Effective today, (May 3) I am applying for a disability retirement pursuant to the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement. I am resigning from my position as a police officer in order to pursue a retirement pension.”

Grant and his lawyers declined to comment following the meeting.

Edson accepted the resignation, which also contains a written agreement that Grant will have the chance to pay insurance premiums he owes for his coverage under the federal law that requires an additional 18 months of health insurance coverage for those who resign from their jobs.

Under the police union’s contract with the borough, three “reputable physicians” will need to examine Grant, and two must report he is unable to perform the job of a police officer for him to qualify to retire as a result of a disability incurred on the job. If Grant qualifies, his pension will equal half of the average of his highest-paid three years’ earnings, including overtime but excluding private duty pay.

If Grant claims his disability was not caused by his job, three doctors must attest to his disability and his disability pension will be the same, under the police union contract. Non-job-related disability retirement is only available to employees of more than 10 years.

Grant will still receive pension payments beginning at age 60 if he does not qualify for a disability pension. The non-disability payments would total 2 percent of the average of his highest-earning three years’ base salary, excluding overtime and private duty pay, multiplied by his 13 years on the job. He is also allowed to choose to take all of the money he has put into the pension immediately.

Edson declined to comment after the meeting about which Grant had chosen.

Grant has worked with the force for 13 years, beginning as a dispatcher for four years before becoming an officer. Grant was given a Life Saving Award in January 2011 after he and a fellow officer helped to save the life of a Naugatuck man who was having a heart attack. His base salary this year, excluding overtime and private duty pay, neared $64,000.

The incident in January was not the first time Grant found himself in trouble with the law.

In 2007 Grant was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct after being involved in a domestic incident at his home while he had been drinking.

Grant was involved in an alcohol-related incident again in 2009. He was suspended for 20 days following a drunken altercation at a bar on Rubber Avenue.

After that incident, Edson told Grant that he would be fired if he broke the department’s alcohol policies again.