The former Hamilton police chief and three other men who allegedly falsified emergency medical training and attempted to cover it up as investigators closed in on them were arraigned this morning in Salem Superior Court.
Walter D. Cullen, the former chief, was charged with two counts of Emergency Medical Services violations, and single counts of procurement fraud and larceny over $250. According to authorities, Cullen, 64, said during an investigation that he had taken required emergency training at the Essex Fire Department in 2006, but the investigation revealed that he was on vacation in Denver and San Diego during that time period and that his son-in-law, Sean Cullen, had actually signed in for him.
Another defendant, James W. Foley, a former lieutenant with the Wenham Police Department, also claimed that he had taken part in the required refresher courses. He was charged with single counts of EMS violation and attempted obstruction of justice.
The person who oversaw some of the courses, Henry Michalski Jr., a training coordinator with Lyons Ambulance, allegedly told investigators that Cullen and Foley did take the courses, and even said of Foley, "He got an 80. He didn't try very hard." Michalski was charged with six counts of EMS violation, two counts of attempted obstruction of justice, and perjury.
The attempted obstruction of justice charges against Foley, 48, of Ipswich, and Michalski, 61, of Middleton, stem from allegations that Michalski, upon being questioned by investigators, tipped Foley and two other men that authorities would probably question them. Michalski allegedly contacted Foley and the other men and told them the same story he told investigators, according to court records.
The fourth defendant, David J. Mastrianni, a training instructor with the Hamilton Police Department, was charged with four counts of EMS violation and two counts of writing a false report, stemming from allegations that he allowed officers to sign EMT attendance rosters without going to training and allowed officers to sign attendance rosters for training that was not held at all. Mastrianni, 45, of Hamilton, is the former chief's son-in law.
Five Hamilton police officers and four Danvers police officers face severe discipline for lying about taking the proper recertification courses and for working without the certification.
Most of the alleged violations occurred from 2006 to 2007, and, according to court documents, "On July 17, 2009, the story rapidly unraveled,'' when Sean Cullen admitted to investigators that he signed his father's name on the refresher courses because his father was "unavailable."
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