A Brookfield policeman charged with criminal offenses in Girard waived his initial appearance in court Oct. 31.
Jay First’s attorney entered a plea of not guilty, according to court records.
Attempts to reach the prosecuting and defense attorneys to discuss next steps in the case were unsuccessful.
First was arrested Oct. 27 at the home of a fellow officer in Girard on charges of discharging a firearm within city limits and using weapons while intoxicated, Girard police said.
Brookfield Police Chief Dan Faustino said First has been placed on paid leave, while an internal investigation is conducted.
“We do not expect our officers to act inappropriately on or off duty,” Faustino said. “We take this allegation seriously, and we will investigate the incident. I never want to lose public trust. We do hold ourselves accountable.”
An internal investigation typically is handled by two ranking staff members, but the probe’s duration will depend on the time they can give to it, the chief said.
“The calls and operations come first,” said Faustino, who has been spending time on the road covering open shifts, including First’s.
Officer Gerald L. Hockey Jr., at whose home the incident occurred, has been on sick leave and is not under any disciplinary inquiry, Faustino said.
Girard police said they were called at 3:10 a.m. to Hockey’s home on Morris Avenue with a report of shots fired and a man and woman screaming. Hockey met police and said First and a woman were in the home, police said. Police said they asked First and the woman to come outside and to leave any firearms inside, police said.
First, 42, of 979 Sharon Hogue Road, Masury, told police he had shot and killed a raccoon and that it was no big deal, police said.
First appeared to be drunk and was unsteady, police said.
First told police he had something to show them and began reaching into a pocket, police said. Police told him to stop what he was doing, but First continued reaching into his pocket, police said.
Police grabbed First’s arm to stop him and pulled a loaded handgun from the pocket, police said.
Hockey told police First had shot the raccoon because it had been caught in a trap and was suffering, making the woman upset, police said.
First was arrested but refused to cooperate with the photographing and fingerprinting parts of the booking process, police said. He argued with police and said they had ruined his career, police said.