Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody says he was "disgusted, angry, and disappointed" to discover that a detective had tried to organize a betting pool on where the Connecticut city's first murder of 2021 would happen. Thody says Detective Jeffrey Placzek, a 16-year veteran of the force, will face demotion and four months of unpaid leave for his role in the "Major Crimes Dead Pool," the Hartford Courant reports. Officials say Placzek sent a text message to at least 19 people last week asking them to pay $20 to mark a spot on the map of the city. The person who guessed closest to the site of the first murder of the year would win the pool.
"The idea that one of our detectives would discuss betting in any way on a tragedy is appalling," Thody says. "I have heard from many members of our community who are distraught about this, and I want them to know that I share their anger." The department is also investigating how 16 other members of the 26-person Major Crime Division responded to the text. Its leader, Lt. Paul Cicero, has been reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation, NBC reports. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says the "disgusting" text message is "frustrating and disappointing because of the incredibly hard work the men and women in Major Crimes have done this year, solving more homicides than in any other year in memory." (Read more Connecticut stories.)