Traverse City police Chief Mike Warren released this statement Tuesday after officer Joseph L. Soffredine's guilty plea to impaired driving:
Below, outlined are the reasons punishment rendered to Traverse City police Officer Joseph Soffredine on Feb. 28 was appropriate, justified and fair and why no additional sanctions will be imposed.
On Feb. 17, the Traverse City Police Department was informed of possible misconduct by Officer Soffredine, which occurred off duty. Immediately, an internal investigation was opened, and the following day, Officer Soffredine was placed on administrative leave.
During the internal investigation, Officer Soffredine was completely honest and cooperative. At the conclusion of this investigation, every aspect of Officer Soffredine's conduct during the night of Feb. 6 was taken into account, and the city police department imposed a four-week suspension on Officer Soffredine for his off-duty conduct, which included voluntarily entering the city's employee assistance program.
Officer Soffredine has complied with, and continues to comply with the guidelines of this program. The citizens involved with Officer Soffredine on the night of Feb. 6 were in agreement with the process and outcome of the department's internal investigation. Officer Soffredine is well aware progressive discipline would dictate the outcome of any future infractions of departmental regulations.
Officer Soffredine has been with the department for 14 years, the first six years as a volunteer reserve officer and the last eight years as a certified police officer. He has had one prior half-day suspension for being late to work. He has nine departmental commendations and three Michigan Lifesaver Awards. The punishment to Officer Soffredine was severe in the loss of four weeks of pay along with other internal sanctions that were imposed.
The negative impact this incident has had on his reputation and the reputation of our agency will not be overcome easily. Officer Soffredine has taken responsibility for his actions on the night of Feb. 6, and he has taken the correct steps to make sure nothing like this happens again.