AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The State Ethics Commission concluded that Agawam Police Lieutenant Edward McGovern violated the conflict of interest law by giving preferential treatment to another Agawam police officer. The Ethics Commission ordered Lt. McGovern pay a $7,500 civil penalty. The 22News I-Team was at the Ethics Commission hearing in Boston in September.
It’s a story 22News has been following closely for more than three years. On Friday night June 29, 2012 at around 9:15pm, then Agawam police officer Danielle Petrangelo was driving the wrong way down Route 5 in West Springfield. The car eventually stopped on Route 5 North near the Agawam/West Springfield town line. The SUV was stopped facing the wrong direction and police found Petrangelo outside the car sitting on a guardrail. Petrangelo was on administrative leave at the time, due to accidentally shooting a woman in the face. Petrangelo was cleared of criminal charges in that case.
Lt. McGovern was the highest-ranking officer in charge when he arrived to see Petrangelo on June 29, 2012. McGovern, the ethics decisions states, observed Petrangelo as incoherent, intoxicated and drunk. Officers there when asked told Lt. McGovern that were no witnesses and no charges were pending. Lt. McGovern then decided not to arrest or issue Petrangelo a citation. Instead, he ordered an Agawam police officer to drive the SUV to the Agawam Police Department and another police officer to drive Petrangelo home.
The ethics decision states, “Although the subordinate officers were not forthcoming with their observations, McGovern failed to conduct any meaningful investigation, and he chose to ignore all other evidence indicating that Petrangelo had operated the SUV on a public way. By failing to conduct a meaningful investigation, and by failing to arrest Petrangelo or issue a citation to her despite having sufficient evidence that she operated the vehicle, McGovern used his APD position to provide Petrangelo with preferential treatment, which amounted to an unwarranted benefit or privilege.”
Lt. McGovern has 30 days to pay the civil penalty or file an appeal in the Superior Court. McGovern’s attorney told 22News that he plans to file an appeal.