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Boston officers disciplined in steroid scandal

By Maria Cramer
Boston Globe

BOSTON — Eleven Boston police officers have been disciplined for their role in a steroids scandal that humiliated the department, forced officials to tighten their drug policies, and resulted in prison time for four patrolmen.

The disciplined officers, seven of whom admitted to using steroids at some point in their careers, received punishments ranging from a written reprimand to a 45-day suspension without pay. But none of the officers were fired and none will face criminal charges, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said today.

“I am disappointed with the actions of the officers disciplined in this matter,” he said during a news conference at police headquarters. “We remain steadfast in our dedication to preserving the integrity of our department by taking every measure to prevent and when necessary uncover officer misconduct.”

The punishments were the culmination of an investigation that began in August 2006 soon after the FBI arrested Officer Roberto “Kiko” Pulido for trying to traffic cocaine. Pulido, a steroid user, would guard parties hosted by a convicted drug dealer at an after-hours club in Hyde Park called the “Boom Boom Room.”

Pulido was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Two other officers, Nelson Carrasquillo and Carlos Pizarro, received sentences of 18 years and 13 years, respectively.

Two of the 11 officers were disciplined for going to the club in uniform and while they were on duty. The club sat above an auto body shop on Factory Street, where prostitutes and dancers mingled with police and where alcohol and drugs were readily available.

The Globe reported in March 2008 that a federal grand jury was investigating steroid use and after-hours parties involving Boston officers.

Acting US Attorney Michael Loucks said today that the federal investigation regarding Pulido and steroids use in the Boston Police Department has been closed. Pulido pleaded guilty in November 2008 to charges that he conspired to traffic cocaine and heroin from Western Massachusetts to Jamaica Plain. He was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison.

The disciplinary action against the officers ends one of the most embarrassing chapters in the department’s history, but questions linger about how effective the police can be in controlling steroid use in the department, considering how difficult it is to test for the drug. Unlike other narcotics, steroid testing is much more expensive and results from taking hair samples can be less accurate, resulting in false positives.

Davis said that since the federal investigation has begun, the department has begun training supervisors to spot signs of substance abuse, especially steroids. Supervisors are also going through “integrity training,” which reviews the department’s ethics, like reporting wrongdoing by other officers.

Officers and recruits must take courses that teach the health risks of using anabolic steroids. New recruits will be tested for steroids.

The department also negotiated testing officers who violated the drug abuse policy for their entire careers, instead of just a three-year period.

“There is an emerging trend of steroid use in law enforcement that we’re monitoring very closely,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, we were on the leading edge of this being disclosed. ... Luckily, it’s not very widespread based upon the results of the investigation.”

The department’s anti-corruption division began investigating the officers when their names came up in interviews with other officers as they probed steroid use in the department.

The disciplined officers included:

-- Steven Gil, a 39-year-old patrolman, who was suspended for three days for failing to notify the department about other officers’ steroid use.

-- Kenneth Gaines, a 44-year-old detective, who was suspended for 30 days for using steroids in 2004.

-- Joseph Marrero, a 34-year-old detective, who was suspended for 30 days for using steroids in 2002.

-- Richard Medina, a 36-year-old patrolman, who was suspended for 15 days for using steroids in 2001.

-- Martin Harrison, a 37-year-old patrolman, who was suspended for 30 days for using steroids in 2005 and 2006.

-- David Juba, a 35-year-old patrolman, who was suspended for 45 days for using steroids in 2006, then lying about it. He also was punished for going to the Boom Boom Room twice while he was on duty and in uniform.

-- Luke Holbrook, a 36-year-old patrolman, who was suspended for 40 days for using steroids in 2006, then lying about it.

-- Timothy Hancock, a 41-year-old patrolman, who was disciplined for 30 days for using steroids in 2004.

-- Joseph Dominguez, a 37-year-old patrolman, who was disciplined for three days for going to the Boom Boom Room while he was on duty and in uniform.

-- Carl Shorter, a 41-year-old patrolman, was disciplined the same amount of time for the same violation.

-- Nichole Tyler, a 39-year-old patrolwoman, received a written reprimand for leaving her assigned post to drop off her partner at the club.

All of the officers accused of steroid use will be subject to drug tests for their entire careers.

Copyright 2009 Boston Globe

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