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Embattled trooper still subject to review

Last updated: March 21. 2014 5:52PM - 4104 Views
By - rdupuis@civitasmedia.com



Gula
Gula
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Pennsylvania State Trooper Carrie Gula is back to work.


But the embattled law enforcement officer, acquitted on criminal charges at a trial on Thursday, will remain on limited duty pending the outcome of a state police internal affairs review, state police Press Secretary Maria A. Finn confirmed Friday.


“Yes, she returned to Troop N today. … I believe at Hazleton doing paperwork,” Finn wrote in an e-mail to The Times Leader.


After three days of testimony and more than five hours of deliberations, a Luzerne County jury acquitted Gula of all five counts she had been facing in a bitter domestic dispute with ex-boyfriend Eric Thomas nearly two years ago.


Gula had been accused of accessing Thomas’ My Verizon Internet account without permission and fabricating a story about Thomas assaulting her. State police investigated the case.


Thomas told police that Gula assaulted him during an Aug. 1, 2012 scuffle at his home, and admitted in court that he changed his own Verizon password — a fact he withheld from Gula, and initially from state police.


Gula was placed on restricted duty on Aug. 9, 2012, then arrested in December 2012. Since then she had been suspended without pay from her job at the Fern Ridge barracks in Blakeslee.


State records show Gula’s salary to be $67,370, Finn confirmed. Gula is a 2009 graduate of the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey.


Gula, 36, of West Pittston, returned to Fern Ridge Friday on what is called restricted duty status, Finn said. That means Gula will be assigned to “administrative-type duties,” and will have her gun on duty-hours only, Finn added.


The internal review to which Gula will be subject is standard operating procedure, Finn said. It typically is a 90-day process following a verdict, which may be extended by mutual agreement with the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association and the department, she explained.


“Any formal complaint against a trooper is always reviewed internally,” Finn wrote, adding: “Also, a criminal arrest of a trooper is cause for an internal review.”


Efforts to reach Gula’s attorney, Joseph Nocito, were not successful Friday.


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