NEWTOWN — A 25-year police officer placed on administrative leave last month after a collision in Hawleyville Cemetery opted not to return to duty last week, abruptly ending his career with a letter of retirement.
Lt. George Sinko, 49, the public information officer, submitted the letter to Police Chief Michael Kehoe last week while on paid administrative leave. Sinko had come under fire earlier from fellow officers and been reprimanded by Kehoe for his delayed response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. When officers from Newtown and many other departments were rushing to the school, Sinko was working a side job, directing traffic at a construction site on Route 25. He arrived about two hours later.
Some officers in the department believed the reprimand was not severe enough, but Kehoe ruled that Sinko was off-duty at the time of the shooting and that his delay in reaching the school did not jeopardize lives. Kehoe also said he was satisfied with how Sinko performed once he did arrive. His duties included dealing with the media that swarmed the area after one of the nation’s worst school shooting incidents.
Sinko could not be reached for comment.
In the cemetery incident, a police report said Sinko was driving a department SUV when he crashed into a three-foot-high pillar, doing some $2,000 worth of damage to the vehicle.
Kehoe said Sinko’s decision to retire was not unexpected…