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Salem police captain’s duties are curtailed

Salem police Captain Brian Gilligan, who was suspended last month for working extra detail shifts while on city time, will no longer oversee detail shifts as part of his duties, Police Chief Paul Tucker said.

In a review of department policy, Tucker said Captain Mark Losolfo would oversee detail assignments. Tucker also announced that officers could no longer take half days of vacation time to work details. Gilligan, who has worked for the Salem Police Department for 21 years, will still run the department’s Special Operations Division, which oversees planning of events such as Halloween, parades, and the department’s Street Crime Unit.

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Gilligan, who topped the department’s salary list by earning $168,000 last year, could not be reached for comment.

This marks Gilligan’s second suspension as a Salem police officer. According to Tucker, Gilligan was suspended in 2005 for 30 days for having “an improper relationship with a court employee.”

The policy assessment comes just weeks after Gilligan was suspended for five days, and was forced to forfeit 12 vacation days after Tucker concluded that Gilligan may have worked as many as 24 detail shifts over the last year on city time.

In an interview, Tucker said he began his investigation in the spring after some officers questioned Gilligan’s record keeping. Tucker speculated that some of the hours Gilligan worked on detail shifts may have been on comp time — city police hours that Gilligan had previously worked but did not submit for pay — but the work hours were poorly documented.

In a May 29 letter to Gilligan, Tucker said he had warned the police captain to properly submit his work hours. “You should recall my direct warning to ensure you took appropriate steps to use vacation or personal days if you wished to engage in detail work. You should also recall my telling you that if you didn’t properly document your time off that a year or two from now it will appear as if you were double-dipping,” Tucker wrote.

‘I think there’s a lesson here for everybody, that you have to be circumspect.’

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According to Salem police policy, detail officers earn $40 an hour, and once they begin the shift they are paid a minimum of $160, even if the detail lasts less than four hours. Detail shifts are assigned by seniority, and senior officers, such as Gilligan, can work as many shifts as they sign up for. Last year, Gilligan earned an extra $26,352 in detail pay.

“I think there’s a lesson here for everybody, that you have to be circumspect,” said Tucker, who does not believe the practice of working details on city time is widespread.

Tucker also believes new computer software the department plans to purchase will improve the way work hours are recorded, now still done on paper.

Meanwhile, Mayor Kimberley Driscoll plans to conduct a review of the suspension. “I would like an external review conducted of the circumstances leading to this suspension. I believe having a second set of eyes reviewing the facts involved in this matter will be beneficial to my office, the department, and the citizens of Salem,” she said in a prepared statement.

Driscoll also may soon be looking for a new police chief. Tucker is the lone Democrat seeking to replace outgoing state Representative John D. Keenan of Salem. His opponent in the November election is Daniel Morris, a Libertarian candidate and Salem State student.

Earlier this spring, the Salem City Council rejected a proposal by Driscoll to remove the police chief’s post from the civil service system. That proposal would have allowed Driscoll to recruit a new chief from outside the department. According to Tucker, the current civil service post calls for a chief to be hired from within.

Steven A. Rosenberg can be reached at srosenberg@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @WriteRosenberg.
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