Updated, 10:30 p.m.: Information added.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Police Det. Stephen Rilling, the son of Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, was arrested Friday and charged with evidence tampering, Fairfield Police say.
Mayor Rilling released a statement saying that he is standing by his son, who he said has become addicted to prescription pain medication.
Fairfield Police released a statement saying:
“Over the last several weeks the Fairfield Police Department has been conducting both an internal investigation and a separate criminal investigation into the misappropriation of drug evidence by a Police Detective within the organization.
“This investigation has culminated in the arrest on a warrant today of Detective Stephen Rilling, age 40, on the charges of Computer Crime 3rd degree, Larceny in the 2nd degree, Forgery in the 2nd degree, Possession of Narcotics, False entry by an officer or agent of a Public Community and Tampering with evidence. He was processed and released after posting a $5,000 court imposed bond.”
Stephen Rilling turned himself in for arrest Friday, Fairfield Lt. Robert Kalamaras said in an email.
Rilling has been the lead narcotics investigator for Fairfield Police since April, 2001, his LinkedIn page states. He has been a detective since 1999 and served a year as a special investigator for the Connecticut Office of the State’s Attorney in Bridgeport, in 2006-2007.
Rilling, in a May 7 post on RyanHampton.org, says that he suffered a severe back injury after a car collision during a police pursuit. The suspect deliberately hit him, he said, and he became addicted to narcotic pain medication after back surgery. He hid his “large habit” for three years before confessing and going into detox, he said.
“I don’t drink, I don’t smoke. How could this happen? I’m a narcotics cop, this isn’t supposed to happen,” he wrote.
Mayor Rilling released this statement:
“Like too many other families in Connecticut, my son and our family are facing the effects of the opioid epidemic that is sweeping our state.
“In the past few weeks I learned that my son has a substance abuse problem brought on by prescription pain medication. He has accepted responsibility for his situation and is in therapy. We are proud of the way he is facing this problem and will continue to stand by him as he works toward recovery.
“We are a family who believes in the power of prayer. With prayer and hard work, Steve will get healthy and will move on with his life. This is a personal matter for our family and I will have no further comment.”
Stephen Rilling’s RyanHampton.org post is headlined, “For 19 Years, I’ve Been A Police Officer. Today, I’m Clean from Opioids and I’m Done Hiding.”
He was “floored” when he was put back into the narcotics work following his rehab, Rilling said. He stayed clean for two years, until “all hell broke loose,” he said.
“I relapsed. I began taking opioids again but was not getting it prescribed like before. So, like any good addict I graduated to heroin. Never in my wildest dreams would I believe that I would stoop so low, but I did. The guilt was immeasurable!” he wrote.
“After finally speaking to a good therapist, I was diagnosed with PTSD due to all the crazy things I have seen and witnessed in my career,” he wrote. “…. I don’t know what the future holds with my job but I am a lot happier now.”
Rilling was placed on administrative leave in April, Fairfield Police say. A criminal investigation showed that the misappropriation occurred from June to February.
“We have reviewed our policy as it relates to this access for follow up, and have implemented additional stricter procedures with our evidence officer to ensure safeguards, in order to prevent the misappropriation of evidence by a single officer,” the police statement said. “…We are working in close coordination with the States Attorney to determine a legal and proper disposition for those cases that were investigated and possibly affected by the misappropriation.”
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