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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > February 1, 2005

POLICE PENALIZE OFFICER OVER HUNTING CHARGE

By Martin B. Cassidy
Staff Writer
February 1, 2005

A police officer arrested in December for illegal hunting has been suspended without pay until April 1, Chief James Walters said yesterday.

The December arrest was the officer's second for illegal hunting.

Lt. Richard Cochran, 47, of 25 Hartford Ave., has been suspended with pay since his arrest. Following an internal investigation, Walters put him on an unpaid suspension from today to April 2.

Walters said he could not elaborate on the suspension because it was a personnel matter.

Cochran and his attorney declined to comment on the suspension.

Cochran has pleaded not guilty to charges of hunting without written consent, third-degree criminal trespass and hunting without orange clothing, his attorney, Jim Pastore, said yesterday. If convicted, he faces up to three months in prison and a $500 fine for third-degree criminal trespass. Hunting without written consent and hunting without orange clothing carry fines of $25 to $200 each and could result in the suspension of Cochran's hunting license. All three charges are misdemeanors.

Police arrested the 24-year veteran on Dec. 21. According to a police report, he carried a bow and arrow onto Aquarion Water Co. land on Dec. 16 without permission. A delivery truck driver reported the incident.

Cochran was scheduled to appear yesterday in state Superior Court in Stamford, but his attorney said the hearing was delayed until March 11 so he could complete paperwork.

"We're working to resolve this case," said Pastore, who declined to discuss details, such as how the unpaid suspension could affect Cochran's case. He did say Cochran's state hunting license has not been revoked.

Lt. Mark Kordick, vice president of the Silver Shield Association police union, said Cochran has not approached the union about challenging the unpaid suspension.

The law enforcement branch of the state Department of Environmental Protection arrested Cochran on Nov. 17, 2002, for hunting on a Sunday. At the time, Cochran said he had returned to woods near Riversville Road to track and kill a deer he had wounded the day before. On that charge, he received accelerated rehabilitation, a form of probation in which no guilty plea is required and charges are dropped from the defendant's record if he complies with court-specified conditions.

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