GRPD officer fired following investigation into Bob Kozminski shooting

8:32 PM, Feb 14, 2008   |    comments
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The Grand Rapids Police Department has fired an officer, saying he failed to follow procedures the night of a deadly police shooting. WZZM 13 News has confirmed the officer, Matthew Dwyer, was fired on Monday. Dwyer, 37, is a nine-year veteran with the Grand Rapids Police Department. His dismissal is part of an internal affairs investigation that was started shortly after the death of Officer Bob Kozminski. Jeffrey VanVels is the man accused of shooting Officer Kozminski the night of July 8, 2007. He's now charged with first degree murder. Shortly after he was arrested, the Grand Rapids Police Department started a full review of policies and procedures. It ended in the dismissal of Officer Dwyer. Chief Kevin Belk says, "What the investigation found was he violated firearms procedures and the manual of conduct by misrepresenting those events in a written report." Following the shooting of Officier Kozminski, each officer at the scene, had to write a report of their accounts. Dwyer said he had fired a shot at Jeffrey VanVels who he thought was inside the house. But, according to the police department, the house, was un-occupied and Van Vels was already in custody. "I'm not really able to get into all the specifics of the violation. Certainly we're confident that he in fact violated those procedures and we needed to take corrective action." Officer Dwyer was a nine year veteran of the department who had been honored for his heroism. In 2006, he was one of four officers who received an award for saving the life of a man who nearly drowned in the Grand River. The Grand Rapids Police Officers Association says it will contest the dismissal. David Leonard, President of the GRPOA says, “The union believes that the city's decision to terminate the officer for good faith actions made in the lawful course of his duty will be found to be unreasonable and the officer reinstated through arbitration" The police union also says this was a life-threatening situation for all of the officers and emotions were high. As for Jeffrey Van Vels, his murder trial is set for later this month.

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