A Buffalo police officer who was brought up on departmental charges after twice overdosing on opioids has been fired, three sources have confirmed to The Buffalo News.
Michael R. Moffett, 28, was fired earlier this week.
The city sought Moffett’s firing, and arbitrator Jeffrey M. Selchick, who presided over the disciplinary hearing, backed the city.
The Police Department, the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association and Moffett refused to release the ruling.
“I issued a decision, and it is in the hands of the parties. It is up to the PBA and the commissioner if they want to release it,” he said.
The hearing was initiated because of the officer’s use of illegal drugs, the sources said. The Buffalo Police Department has zero-tolerance policy on the illegal use of drugs.
Moffett overdosed in February 2016 at the home of a friend in South Buffalo. Police responded and administered two doses of the opiate antidote Narcan to revive him. He was suspended and later took an unpaid medical leave to seek help.
Then in June 2016, he overdosed a second time at his home in South Buffalo and police administered three doses of Narcan to revive him. Moffett had been on paid suspension when the arbitrator issued his ruling.
John Evans, the incoming president of the PBA, said the association’s attorneys are reviewing the ruling. A decision on whether to appeal the ruling in court has not yet been made, he said.
“I can’t comment on internal matters,” Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said when asked about the officer’s firing.
News of Moffett’s overdoses sent shockwaves through the police force. The deadly opioid epidemic has put officers on the front lines of saving lives when they are called to scenes where an individual has overdosed. In the last few years, they have administered hundreds of doses of Narcan to revive individuals. They were upset and disappointed when one of their own overdosed.
Moffett joined the police force in 2014 and had worked in the Northeast District.