Worcester Taxpayer Tab After Police Partying: $100K

An internal affairs investigation revealed how Worcester police officers Rodrigo Oliveira and Santa Dell’Aquila overdosed inside Oliveira’s home in June 2021 and had to be treated with Narcan by first responders

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Payroll records the NBC10 Investigators obtained show two Worcester police officers received about $100,000 when they were on paid administrative leave after a night of drinking, smoking, and snorting a line of cocaine.

As we told you in February, an internal affairs investigation revealed how Rodrigo Oliveira and Santa Dell’Aquila overdosed inside Oliveira’s home in June 2021 and had to be treated with Narcan by first responders.



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Oliveira was eventually fired after the incident. As we’d reported, the officer was already on a “last chance” agreement with the department for previous sustained allegations from internal affairs cases.

Records show he remained on paid leave for about six months and received $50,000 in salary during that time period.

Meantime, Dell’Aquila will remain on the force under one of those “last chance” agreements. He has also collected just shy of $50,000 while remaining off the job, according to records.

Following the medical response at Oliveira’s home, an NBC10 investigation discovered neighbors had repeatedly called 911 about loud parties that lasted all hours of the night.

“This guy is an officer,” said one caller. “Every year, we have the same complaint. Maybe it’s time for you to do something, you know? He thinks he owns the city, but he doesn’t.”

According to the internal review, Oliveira and Dell’Aquila spent the night last June drinking and smoking with friends at a Worcester bar until it closed.

The group then returned to Oliveira’s home, where the party continued. Both officers admitted to snorting a line of cocaine, according to the report.

Before long, first responders had arrived to administer Narcan and perform CPR.

“Officer Oliveira reported that he believed he was dead and he remembers coming back to life in the ambulance,” he said during his interview, according to the report.

The internal review sustained allegations against both officers for conduct unbecoming to an officer, criminal conduct, and violating the no-smoking policy.

For Oliveira, it was the last straw. Police Chief Steven Sargent recommended termination.

Oliveira told us last month he planned to hire an attorney and appeal the decision to fire him.

Public employees on paid administrative leave can come at a significant cost to taxpayers. In 2018, the NBC10 Investigators found the City of Boston paid $5 million over a three-year period to employees who stayed at home while under investigation.

Ryan Kath can be reached at ryan.kath@nbcuni.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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