PLAINVILLE - A Hartford police detective arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in Plainville last summer and using racial slurs was fired from the police force on Monday.
Robert Lanza, 43, of Wolcott, an 11-year member of the Hartford Police Department, was found to have violated his department’s code of conduct, specifically conduct unbecoming an officer, according to a statement issued by Hartford Dep. Police Chief Brian Foley. Foley said the finding was made after an internal affairs investigation.
Another violation of Hartford’s code of conduct, the “arrest and conviction of any misdemeanor,” is pending while Lanza’s criminal case is adjudicated.
“This causes concerns over Detective Lanza’s ability to perform the functions of a police officer, as well as the public trust and legitimacy in his ability to enforce the laws equitably without regard to race or ethnicity,” Foley’s statement read. “His behavior discredited the Hartford Police Department, undermined the good order and discipline of the department, and damaged working relationships with other law enforcement agencies.”
Lanza was arrested Aug. 27 on charges of operating under the influence and interfering with police. Early that day, at about 12:18 a.m., Bristol police received reports that a vehicle was swerving all over the road, nearly striking the guardrail, on Route 72 before driving into Plainville.
Plainville officers then found Lanza parked in the entrance of 72 Commons with his engine running. He appeared “extremely intoxicated,” as his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol, police said.
According to police, Lanza admitted that he is a Hartford police officer and refused to answer questions on whether he had anything to drink or where he was coming from. He also failed field sobriety tests, which he couldn’t perform without swaying, police said.
During the arrest, Foley said Monday, Lanza “repeatedly used racial slurs, showed evidence of animus towards individuals based on race, suggested that individuals of certain races are treated less favorably by law enforcement due to their race, provided false information to Plainville police officers, refused to comply with requests from Plainville police to exit the vehicle, resisted efforts by Plainville police to be handcuffed, requested special treatment because of employment as a Hartford police officer, attempted to intimidate Plainville Police by advising them to never come to Hartford.”
“These actions were egregious, deplorable and completely unacceptable for a Hartford police officer, and are grounds for termination even before considering their present and future detrimental effect upon the operations of the Hartford Police Department,” Foley said.
According to the state’s judicial records, Lanza’s criminal case is still pending and has been statutorily sealed. Cases can sometimes be sealed when a defendant has applied for or has been enrolled in a court-ordered program, such as the Alcohol Education Program.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.