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East Bridgewater

Fired police officer reinstated

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An East Bridgewater police officer fired in 2012 has been reinstated, and a Civil Service official has questioned the motives of the police chief who fired him. In a decision announced on June 13, Civil Service Commissioner Christopher Bowman accused Police Chief John Cowan of firing Officer Joel Silva, 37, for reasons unrelated to his performance. “I have reached the reasonable inference that the animosity between Chief Cowan and the Silva family contributed to his decision to terminate Officer Silva,” said Bowman in his decision. He criticized Cowan’s investigation in the case, accusing him of unfairly mischaracterizing Silva’s actions and statements to support his decision to fire the officer. “In doing so, he [Cowan] has unfairly and forever impugned the integrity of a a law enforcement officer.” Cowan, who previously had also fired Silva’s brother and father from the department, fired Joel Silva on June 26, 2012, charging him with insubordination and lying while on the job. In a release issued through Town Counsel Daniel Brown, Town Administrator George Samia and Cowan called the decision “disappointing.” “For reasons known only to the commission, it ignored many of the facts and reasons for the town’s decision to discharge Mr. Silva,” said the statement. “Also concerning are the criticisms the commission levies against the town for the process it employed in discharging Mr. Silva. The town is considering appealing the Civil Service Commission’s decision.”

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