Fire officer is served with summons, tested for drugs and alcohol

Lieutenant is placed on administrative leave, awaits court action

September 01, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

The county fire lieutenant released without a bail hearing on a criminal charge through intervention by the police chief returned to work yesterday - only to be served with a summons, given drug and alcohol tests and put on leave with pay pending their outcome, authorities said.

The lieutenant, Patrick Gilligan, 35, was informed in the District Court summons of the charge against him, fourth-degree burglary, and that a date for his appearance would be set.

Chief P. Thomas Shanahan has said that he felt immediate treatment was needed for Gilligan, who within a month had also been charged twice with drunken driving and never brought before a commissioner. The chief also has said that the release was not a political or personal favor.

Shanahan's approval of Gilligan's release delayed by several days the filing of the burglary charge, bringing criticism from the department ranks and some County Council members, in part because the 17-year firefighter is the son of Michael F. Gilligan, a former councilman and a close friend of County Executive Janet S. Owens, the chief's boss.

The younger Gilligan, allegedly in a drunken state, was arrested Aug. 23 after officers answered a 911 emergency call from a 72-year-old woman saying that a man had tried to break into her home. The chief and his deputy intervened while the officers were preparing the charges so that Gilligan could be brought before a District Court commissioner.

When Gilligan returned from personal leave and reported for duty yesterday at the West Annapolis fire station, he was immediately sent to county fire department headquarters in Millersville for an alcohol and drug test, said Battalion Chief John M. Scholz, a department spokesman.

He was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the results of the alcohol and drug screening, Scholz said.

County police served the criminal summons about 11 a.m. at fire headquarters, said Sgt. Joseph Jordan, a police spokesman.

Scholz said the fire department is looking into the cases but that no personnel hearing will be held until after the court process is completed.

Neither Gilligan could be reached for comment yesterday.

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