Officer charged with shooting at car keeps law enforcement certification

RAYMOND — A probation officer charged with three felonies alleging he fired three bullets at a car in Raymond was granted approval to keep his law enforcement certification while working a “non-weapon” job at a state prison.

The officer, David Burris, was indicted by a Rockingham County grand jury Oct. 5, 2016, for three felony counts of reckless conduct, according to public records. Each of the indictments allege on Dec. 1, 2015, Burris shot a round at a car occupied by probationer Andrew Holmes, during the course of a probation check. The indictments state that Burris placed, or may have placed Holmes and/or local residents, in danger of serious bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon.

According to minutes from a Police Standards and Training Committee (PSTC) meeting, Burris was with another officer at the time, there was a warrant for Holmes’ arrest and Holmes was “taking off in a motor vehicle” when Burris shot three times at the vehicle. The minutes note Burris appeared before the PSTC Jan. 31 for it to decide whether, “Absent innocence or guilt at this time, to temporarily suspend his certification as a probation/parole officer based on the facts” in the indictments.

The hearing is described in the PSTC minutes as “a temporary suspension hearing under Rule 402.02(b). That rule states: “A certification shall be temporarily suspended pending resolution of criminal charges if the officer has been arrested, indicted or bound over either prior to or after certification for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude or of a crime which tends to bring discredit on the police, corrections, or probation/parole service, unless the safety of the public or the confidence in the criminal justice system would not be adversely affected.”

Represented by police union attorney Peter Perroni, Burris successfully argued he poses “no threat to the public or its safety,” according to PSTC minutes. Perroni told the police standards board that Burris began working with the Department of Corrections in 2005, joined the National Guard in 2006 and was deployed to Iraq from 2007 to 2008. He rejoined the corrections department and was promoted to corporal in 2013 and the following year, began work as a probation officer, the PSTC minutes state.

Perroni is quoted in the minutes saying the Department of Corrections “immediately” demoted Burris from probation officer to corporal and when the indictments were handed down, he was “assigned to a non-weapon bearing post.” Because Burris had been working in Rockingham County at the time of the alleged crimes, he’s being prosecuted by the Strafford County Attorney’s office, the minutes note. His case is scheduled for a June trial.

The PSTC voted to take no action against Burris, meaning he retains his law enforcement certification.

“There is no safety threat to the public or lack of confidence in the criminal justice system for this case,” according to the PSTC minutes. If Burris’ status changes, the minutes note, he is instructed to return to the board for another hearing.

Department of Corrections spokesman Jeffrey Lyons said Burris is a corrections corporal assigned to the state prison for men in Concord. He said Burris became a corporal March 16, 2016, and before that, was a probation/parole officer for the Department of Corrections Field Services District Office for Rockingham County and based in Exeter. Both positions are state jobs within the Department of Corrections, Lyons said.

“Beyond that I cannot discuss other personnel matters involving Corporal Burris,” he said.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170309/officer-charged-with-shooting-at-car-keeps-law-enforcement-certification?platform=hootsuite

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