By RUSS OLIVO
WOONSOCKET — A city policeman is free on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to charges of driving under the influence in District Court Monday.
The charges were brought against Patrolman Steven Fairley by members of his own department after an incident that occurred on Feb. 25, police said.
The confirmation came in one-paragraph statement from the Woonsocket Police Department, issued after Fairley was arraigned. Detective Lt. Eugene Jalette, citing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, said the department would make no further comment or release the report of Fairley’s arrest.
WJAR-TV reported Fairley was suspended with pay on Friday under the Bill of Rights, a law that establishes a procedure for disciplinary action against police on internal, non-criminal charges.
“Because there will be an administrative investigation, no additional information can be released at this time,” the statement says. “Further updates will be provided when appropriate.”
Based on information gleaned from police sources and court records, Fairley was arrested on Cumberland Street after officers responded to a motor vehicle accident. The accident did not result in any injuries. Fairley was off-duty at the time. Fairley, 31, has been employed by the police department since July 2004.
This is not his first scrape with the law on criminal charges that originated within his own department.
According to the judiciary’s Web site, Fairley pleaded no contest in July 2008 to charges of illegally accessing a department computer and given a year’s probation.
Sources familiar with that case say Fairley was unhappy about losing his temporary assignment in charge of the evidence room to an officer returning to the assignment from sick leave. Fairley claimed he accessed the records from home to sabotage his rival’s work records because he was angry about not getting the job permanently. It’s unknown whether Fairley was disciplined on internal charges stemming from that incident. But
two other detectives were suspended on allegations of misconduct after they began investigating the case. Those charges were thrown out on technical grounds when a Superior Court judge reviewed the proceedings.
Fairley must return to court for a pre-trial conference on the DUI charges in two weeks.