A Seymour police officer and a former Ansonia Alderman both face misdemeanor charges in connection to a domestic dispute.
The officer, Meredith Shook, 41, and the former Alderman, Anthony DeLucia, 40, were both charged with disorderly conduct March 10 after an incident at their Ansonia home.
Seymour Deputy Police Chief Paul Satkowski said in an email Wednesday that Officer Shook, whose salary is $71,291.99, is on vacation.
“Officer Shook is currently out of work,” Satkowski said. “She is utilizing vacation and personal time that is owed to her.”
The March 10 incident is not Shook’s first arrest.
In February 2009 she was charged with driving under the influence after a crash on Derby Avenue, according to the New Haven Register.
Those charges were eventually dismissed after Shook successfully completed a pre-trial diversionary program for first-time drunk driving defendants.
Shook was demoted for four months in connection to the DUI arrest.
The Valley Indy rarely publishes information on misdemeanor arrests, but the publication will seek out the information when the accused is a public figure or someone sworn to uphold the law.
Shook’s lawyer, Daniel Esposito, said in an email the charge against Shook will be dismissed.
“Ms. Shook’s summons had no nexus to her employment; it was a private, interpersonal matter and will continue to be handled as such,” Esposito said. “She has been, and will continue to be, cooperative with the investigative process and we are optimistic that she will ultimately be exonerated.”
According to the police report from the arrests, the couple had an argument after DeLucia got home early for the day but couldn’t find Shook.
She was later dropped off at the home by another person.
During the argument, Shook said she would leave for the night, but DeLucia allegedly took her car keys because she was intoxicated.
Another resident of the house then took the keys and went into a separate room, locking the door, according to the police report.
Shook allegedly banged on the door of the room, “almost to the point of breaking it down.”
DeLucia allegedly pulled Shook away from the door and into another room. DeLucia allegedly told Shook he was going to call police, but Shook beat him to it.
DeLucia could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He represented the Fourth Ward on the Board of Aldermen until 2015.
Disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum three months in jail.
Both Shook and DeLucia were released on $500 nonsurety bonds, meaning they did not have to post any cash or collateral.
They were arraigned at Superior Court in Derby March 13, where Judge Peter Brown continued the case to April 6.
The judge ordered Shook to receive anger management and alcohol counseling through the court’s Family Services division and issued protective orders in the case to both Shook and DeLucia.
Misdemeanor domestic violence cases involving first-time defendants are usually dismissed if defendants follow a judge’s orders and are successful in counseling.
In 2014 she was appointed to serve as the police department’s school resource officer, according to the Register.
Domestic Violence ‘Dual Arrests’
The Ansonia domestic violence arrests were made as state lawmakers debate whether to change the existing laws.
The move comes after ProPublica, a national nonprofit investigative website, recently published a story indicating that in domestic violence incidents, Connecticut police are arresting the person who called police at a much greater rate than elsewhere in the U.S.
The CT Mirror explained ProPublica’s findings in Connecticut.
The report showed that while the practice of dual arrests is rare nationally, around 2 percent, in Connecticut the average was around 18 percent between 2011 and 2015.
In Ansonia the figure was 37 percent.
Police Chief Kevin Hale declined to comment on the specifics of the case involving Shook and DeLucia.
But he said that in general, police wrestle with how to deal with domestic violence calls.
“It’s certainly not ‘Just arrest them both,’” Hale said. “That’s the easy way out, but not the only way.”
The chief said that police brass try to give cops as much discretion as possible.
But he pointed out that in domestic violence cases, officers must make an arrest if they find probable cause under the terms of a series of sweeping reforms made to the state’s laws after a notorious Torrington case in 1983.
“The officer has to go based on probable cause,” Hale said. “And if the probable cause points to a dual arrest, that’s what happens.”
That’s not where police involvement in the case ends, though.
In Ansonia, the police department partnered with BHcare’s Umbrella Center For Domestic Violence Services on a “Lethality Assessment Program,” which trains police officers to assess a domestic violence victim’s risk for serious injury or death, and connect those at risk to BHCare services via a 24-hour hotline.
The program, funded through a grant from the Katharine Matthies Foundation based on research conducted at Johns Hopkins University, has since been expanded to departments throughout the state.