(CBS Connecticut) — At a public meeting Thursday night at town hall, Windsor Locks residents debated whether to pay $460,000 to a town police sergeant, to get him to stop trying to return to the force.

The issue will go to a town-wide referendum on March 17.

Sergeant Robert Koistinen has been out of work since after he was accused of interfering with an investigation into a 2010 crash in which his son Michael struck and killed teenage bicyclist Henry Dang.

Robert Koistinen was cleared of criminal charges, but fired from the department.  Koistinen fought his firing, and  a state arbitration board ordered him reinstated.

Most of the people who spoke agreed that Koistinen should not return to the force, but they argued over whether it would be better to give him money to ensure he never gets back on the force, or to appeal the issue in court, and risk bigger potential costs if the town loses.

Resident Michael Bracken, Junior says the deal is in the best interest of the town.

“Give him the money and que sera, sera, he’s gone,” Bracken said. “To me, yeah, he got $460,000, but he had to resign.”

Sitting in the audience before the public hearing, Alan Labrecque said he is against the payout.

“I think he did something wrong, helping out his son,” Labrecque said. “I understand it is his son. Everyone loves their children, but there was also a kid who lost his life.”

The chairman of the town police commission says that if the town does not make the payment, it would still have to pay Koistinen back pay, and pay to train him to return to the force.


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