Town Manager Mangiaratti and Chief Burrows provide an update on a personnel matter with the Police Department.
Town Manager John Mangiaratti and Police Chief Richard Burrows report that two members of the Acton Police Department, who were placed on leave earlier this year, have resigned from the department. The Town of Acton has, as a matter of procedure, informed The Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission about both employees' statuses and the ongoing investigations into their conduct.
Investigations were initiated after a person who identified themself as a former Acton-Boxborough Regional High School student, reported to an Acton Police Department official that they had been the victim of past inappropriate conduct by two officers, Tyler Russell and Michael Eracleo, in separate incidents while the officers had been working as school resource officers, however in both cases, the charges that resulted in action against the former officers were not related to any matters occurring at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School or involving any students. Additionally, Eracleo was investigated for claims related to financial exploitation of an Acton resident.
Michael Eracleo resigned on Aug. 29, hours after a disciplinary hearing. Chief Burrows informed POST of Eracleo's resignation and also of the disciplinary hearing in which there was a recommendation of termination.
Michael Eracleo was hired on May 16, 2005. He was placed on leave in March for conduct unbecoming an officer and other policy violations including possible violation of conflict of interest statutes.
The disciplinary hearing came after an outside investigator found Eracleo violated several policies, procedures, rules and regulations of the department. The findings were also sent to POST.
Tyler Russell faced a disciplinary hearing in August, and subsequently tendered his resignation in the face of the accusations against him. Chief Burrows informed POST of Russell's resignation and also of the scheduled disciplinary hearing, which did not occur due to the resignation.
Russell was hired on Jan. 18, 2016. He was placed on leave in March. During the investigation, explicit material was found on Russell's town-issued mobile phone, unrelated to the original reason for the investigation.
"The results of a diligent and multi-faceted investigation found that two members of the Acton Police Department betrayed the trust and faith of the public they were sworn to protect. Police chiefs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have, for decades, been calling for a certification process that removes the loophole of resignation from the disciplinary process," Chief Burrows said. "The transparency afforded by the state certification process should now allow the Acton Police Department to immediately begin the vital work of rebuilding public trust. The Acton Police Department can only be successful if it is viewed as legitimate and trustworthy in the eyes of the people it serves, and today should send a clear message about our intentions as a public safety agency."
Added Town Manager Mangiaratti: "This was a deeply unsettling case, but I am grateful for the work of Chief Burrows, the Acton Police Department command staff and the outside investigator who provided a thorough finding of fact in this matter. My belief is that the officers who serve with the Acton Police Department are good, self-sacrificing people who come to work every day trying to make a difference and improve people's lives. These two individuals represent the exception, rather than the rule."