Report: Firing of Dalton officer over suicide response justified

Berkshire County

DALTON, Mass. (AP) — An arbitrator has ruled that a Massachusetts town was justified when it fired a police officer who it was determined did not do enough to prevent a woman’s suicide.

Former Dalton Officer John Marley was fired by Dalton’s Select Board last May in connection with the November 2019 suicide, The Berkshire Eagle reported Tuesday.

Marley did not respond promptly enough to the woman’s apartment, despite reports that she had threatened to kill herself, wasn’t answering her phone and wasn’t coming to the door when others knocked.

In a 29-page decision, the arbitrator found that Marley violated police policy.

“The Grievant’s conduct justifies the discipline imposed,” the arbitator wote, adding that “if the Grievant had responded promptly to the call for a well-being check at 6:16 p.m., he might have saved her life.”

The newspaper left a message with Marley’s attorney, who had previously argued that there were questions about the urgency of a response, and that the department would have been unjustified in forcibly entering the apartment.

Marley has 30 days to appeal the arbitrator’s ruling to the Superior Court.

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