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Injured officer didn't wear seat beltElaine Thompson; TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
MARLBORO
A police officer seriously injured in an accident Wednesday was not wearing his seat belt, a violation of Police Department policy.

Police Chief Mark Leonard yesterday confirmed that Officer James Gough was not wearing his seat belt when his siren-blaring cruiser, en route to help a motorist who was having a seizure, crashed into a car that darted out from a side street.

The driver of the other vehicle, Jason P. Collins, 18, of 19 Bicknell Drive, was cited yesterday for failing to pull to the right and stop for an emergency vehicle, which carries a $100 fine; and failing to yield at an intersection, punishable by a $35 fine. Mr. Collins was treated at Marlboro Hospital and released after the 7:32 a.m. accident.

Officer Gough, who was able to call for help, was taken by a Life Flight helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center - University Campus in Worcester. He suffered a head injury and fractures of both ankles and a wrist. A nursing supervisor said he was in fair condition last night.

Chief Leonard said while police, fire and other emergency personnel are exempt from the state seat belt law, his department has required officers to wear seat belts since 1994. He said the circumstances surrounding the violation will be investigated. Punishment can range from a warning to a suspension.

He said the officer, who joined the force five years ago after serving as a dispatcher for several years, has never been involved in any disciplinary incidents.

"I am upset about it. It sends the wrong message," Chief Leonard said. "It's something we need to investigate like any other department policy, but he has other things to worry about at the moment."

The chief said the 38-year-old patrolman is expected to be out on injury leave for a while. Officer Gough underwent surgery on the wrist and one ankle yesterday, the chief said.
 

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Chief Leonard said while police, fire and other emergency personnel are exempt from the state seat belt law, his department has required officers to wear seat belts since 1994. He said the circumstances surrounding the violation will be investigated. Punishment can range from a warning to a suspension.
IMO the punishment should be no more than the $25 fine that the public is subject to.
 

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He should be fined for not wearing a seat belt, are you f---ing kidding me? He didn't cause the accident, the pimple popping ass clown did. He unfortunately was involved in an accident while responding to a call. Lets punish the officer that is now laid up in the hospital, that makes sense. Hopefully the Chief was just playing it up to the media but if he disciplines him, he's the typical morale deflating, pencil pushing policy maker, who takes a good test but was a pathetic police officer.
 

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Talk about throwing salt in the open wound. Officer gets in an accident, life flight'd to the hospital, out IOD, and then has to get spanked publicly by the Chief in the paper about not wearing his seatbelt and how dissappointed he is. It should have gone, "I am glad my officer is still alive"... Time for a reality check Chief...
 

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I agree, no need to throw salt on the open wound. But on a personal note, we should ALL remember that MVA's are now (I believe) the 2nd leading killer for Police Officers... good enough reason to make me buckle up. I do admit that I conflict with my own thoughts on buckling up when on duty, because I always have the thought in my mind that I need to be ready if someone bails on me I don't wanna lose precious time fussing with the seatbelt... But I'd rather lose the shitbag than my life.

But yes, that Chief needs a reality check. I do hope its just a media cover.
 

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Se7en said:
He should be fined for not wearing a seat belt, are you f---ing kidding me? He didn't cause the accident, the pimple popping ass clown did. He unfortunately was involved in an accident while responding to a call. Lets punish the officer that is now laid up in the hospital, that makes sense. Hopefully the Chief was just playing it up to the media but if he disciplines him, he's the typical morale deflating, pencil pushing policy maker, who takes a good test but was a pathetic police officer.
HAHA "PIMPLE POPPING ASS CLOWN" NICE DIG!
 
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