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December 30. 2013 10:28PM

Ex-sergeant sues after Sandown police chief says he made up traffic stops

BRENTWOOD — Former Sandown police Sgt. Scott Wood has filed a lawsuit against Police Chief Joseph Gordon, claiming that he was inappropriately placed on the state’s so-called Laurie List.

But the chief’s attorney said Gordon received information that Wood had been “routinely falsifying police records — that he in fact had been making up from ‘whole cloth’ supposed car stops, and entering information about those stops into the police computer system in order to pad his statistics.”

Wood, a six-year veteran with the Sandown police department, left his position last Aug. 17 claiming he had a personality conflict with Gordon.

Wood filed a lawsuit in Rockingham County Superior Court, arguing that he should be removed from the state’s Laurie List, which lists police officers with potential credibility issues.

The state Attorney General’s Office and the state Police Standards and Training Council are also named as co-defendants in Wood’s lawsuit.

Wood claims his placement on the Laurie List, “directly caused his loss of employment with the Chester Police Department” where he recently applied for a job.

Andrew Livernois, a lawyer representing Gordon, said in court papers that Wood’s version of events, “is inaccurate, misleading and does not paint an honest portrayal of what actually transpired.”

He said Gordon and another officer in the department conducted an internal investigation “which uncovered evidence that confirmed (Wood) had, in fact, made false entries into the police department computer system — most likely on hundreds of different occasions.”

Gordon then met with Wood, presented the evidence found during the investigation, and gave him an opportunity to respond, Livernois said in a court motion.

“(Wood) neither admitted nor denied the charges against him,” Livernois said in court papers.

Gordon then told Wood that his name would be placed on the state’s Laurie List and that he was expected to resign, according to Livernois. Wood adamantly denied that version of events, saying that he was “never told that and it was not implied that he was being terminated.”

Wood insists that he left the job of his own accord.

“There was positively no discussion of termination, discipline, sanction or otherwise,” Wood said in his complaint, adding that he had “an impeccable service record.”

Wood claims that only the Board of Selectmen — not Gordon — had the power to terminate him.

Selectmen were made aware of Gordon’s finding, according to Wood, but it was not placed in his permanent file.

“After lengthy discussion and vote by the Board of Selectman, the documents evidencing the supposed claims were removed from Mr. Wood’s personnel file by the board and sealed,” Wood said in his court complaint.

Gordon then reported Wood to the state’s Laurie List, and licensing authority, claiming that the sergeant resigned “in lieu of termination,” according to Wood’s lawsuit.

A judge is expected to hear testimony regarding Wood’s lawsuit in February.

jkimble@newstote.com


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