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Sunday, June 8, 2008

[CA] Firefighter Zawacki dv arrest: His department has no specific policy

...An Orange County Fire Authority firefighter is back on the job just two days after being booked in county jail on suspicion of attacking his girlfriend... The OCFA does not have a specific policy regarding relieving employees from their duties following an arrest for domestic violence...

Firefighter arrested on suspicion of domestic violence back on the job
OCFA officials say accusations won't affect his ability to serve the public

The Orange County Register
By Kimberly Edds kedds@ocregister.com
June 7, 2008
[Excerpts] LAGUNA NIGUEL - An Orange County Fire Authority firefighter is back on the job just two days after being booked in county jail on suspicion of attacking his girlfriend. Officials with the OCFA said the physical abuse allegations against the firefighter will not affect his ability to do his job or to serve the public. OCFA firefighter Joe Zawacki, 47, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. Thursday by Sheriff's deputies in Rancho Santa, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. That same night, an OCFA mechanic was arrested in Tustin, accused of misdemeanor weapons charges and possession of Cuban cigars. Gerald “Jerry” Colunga was booked at the county jail on suspicion of carrying a concealed gun in a vehicle and possession of a switchblade... Criminal charges have not yet been filed against Zawacki or Colunga. Prosecutors have requested more information from Sheriff's investigators regarding the allegations against Zawacki, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Zawacki, an OCFA firefighter since 1989, was back on the job in Laguna Niguel Saturday. Under California law, a law enforcement officer arrested on suspicion of domestic violence immediately has his gun taken away, and if the officer is allowed to return to work, is temporarily assigned to a different job. Restoration of a weapon and regular duties are made on a case-by-case basis, according to local law enforcement agencies. The OCFA does not have a specific policy regarding relieving employees from their duties following an arrest for domestic violence, said Kris Concepcion, a battalion chief with the OCFA. “The OCFA takes this case very seriously and we are watching it very closely,” said Concepcion. “Because he has been charged with a misdemeanor we feel it won't affect his ability to perform his duties and serve the public”... Both men posted bail and were released. Authorities with the Fire Authority have launched an internal investigation into Zawacki's activities...
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/ocfa-county-colunga-2062774-orange-arrested

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