After Holyoke police officer John Wieland pulled a gun on one of his fellow police officers at a diner during a debate over which branch of the military is better, Police Chief James M. Neiswanger recommended that he be fired and Mayor Alex B. Morse signed off on the termination last Friday. The decision to fire Wieland apparently upset the president of the Holyoke police officers' union:
I am absolutely disgusted by, I believe, one of the most excessive, unfair and egregious disciplines handed out" to an officer, said Officer Edward J. Moskal, president of Local 388, International Brotherhood of Police Officers.
"It is wrong" that Wieland would pull out his gun, Moskal said. "At the same time, John absolutely undersands he did wrong. The other office did not believe there was any threat to his safety."
"He admitted to what he did, he agreed he should be punished, he was willing to go to counseling," Moskal said...
"It was just horseplay gone a little too far," Moskal said.
If firing a cop for pulling a gun on his fellow officers is "excessive, unfair and egregious," then I'm not sure what would warrant firing a cop. If Wieland was willing to pull a gun on a colleague over a stupid argument, I'd hate to see what he'd do to a non-cop.
Frankly, it sounds like Wieland is getting off easy. He should probably be facing criminal charges over this incident, but he isn't. As The Republican notes, unless Wieland is convicted of a crime, he can keep his pension. Furthermore, he also has the option to appeal his termination which could get him his job back.
If I was a Holyoke police officer, I'd be looking for a new union president right about now since it doesn't sound like the current one cares much about the threat that out-of-control cops pose to their co-workers.