Suffield officer disciplined for inappropriate 'sexual' conversations with co-worker

·3 min read

Jun. 14—SUFFIELD — A town police officer was suspended for four days without pay in March and ordered to complete a sexual harassment retraining course due to engaging in inappropriate conduct with a female co-worker where his conversations were "sexual in nature," according to disciplinary records obtained from the Police Department by the Journal Inquirer through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Officer Robert Dabkowski was suspended for four days beginning on March 25, and mandated to complete the sexual harassment retraining course for conduct and actions that took place between August 2020 and February 2021, according to a letter issued to him by Police Chief Richard Brown.

Dabkowski could not be reached for comment.

According to the internal investigation report, Dabkowski engaged in conversations that were not workplace appropriate where many of them were "sexual in nature."

The investigation was conducted by Capt. James Canon Jr. after a female employee of the Police Department made a formal complaint against Dabkowsk in February. The woman's name and job title are redacted in the report.

In the complaint, the woman says that Dabkowski had, for the past several months, made rude and obscene comments in her presence despite her asking him to stop.

OFFICER DISCIPLINED

WHO: Suffield police Officer Robert Dabkowski

RULE VIOLATED: Conduct between co-workers; he was found to have engaged in inappropriate conversations that were "sexual in nature" with a female co-worker

DISCIPLINARY ACTION: Suspended for four days without pay and mandated to complete a sexual harassment retraining course

A lieutenant, a sergeant, two officers, and another staff member of Police Department are listed as witnesses to Dabkowski's inappropriate conduct, the report said. Security camera footage was also utilized in the investigation, according to the report.

Both witness statements and security camera footage revealed that Dabkowski was engaging in inappropriate conversations in the presence of the woman who filed the complaint, and that witness statements and the security footage indicated that she displayed an expression of disgust and told investigators later that that she was "grossed out."

The topics of the multiple conversations ranged from discussing sex acts to genital piercings, and took place many times in the months before the complaint was made.

One witness indicated that she had heard Dabkowski "make very inappropriate, tasteless or unacceptable remarks in regards to his sexual life," and that "he has a pattern and history of insensitive and tactless statements."

The woman who filed the complaint and a witness both stated they were warned by other Police Department members to "watch out for Rob" when they were hired.

According to the report, Dabkowski indicated that he believed his behavior was part of the close, personal relationship he had with the woman. Both Dabkowski and the woman confirmed that they had engaged in inappropriate conversation outside of work, but both claim that the other initiated these conversations in the workplace.

The investigation ultimately determined that it was Dabkowski who had violated a Police Department rule pertaining to conduct between co-workers.

Violations of sexual harassment in the workplace and conduct unbecoming of an officer were both not sustained as a result of the investigation.

"Although deemed not sexual harassment, the details of the conversations are not appropriate for the workplace and have a tendency to make people uncomfortable," Canon said in the report.

Dabkowski completed the retraining program on April 14.

Adam covers the towns of Enfield and Suffield. For more updates, follow Adam on Twitter: @AHushinJI and Facebook: Adam Hushin.

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