I-Team: Pawtucket fights legal battle to fire convicted officer

Nichalas Laprade

Pawtucket police officer Nichalas Laprade was found guilty of exposing himself to two women while driving on Route 6 in 2011. More than three years later, he's still being paid.

The NBC 10 I-Team has learned it's costing Pawtucket taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Laprade has been on paid administrative leave from the police department since 2010.

So far, he's earned $223,000 in salary, $70,000 in medical and retirement benefits, and $30,000 in sick and vacation time. It adds up to $323,000.

"I'm not a bad guy. And because of these two seconds, I'm going to lose everything I worked for? I just had to get my story out there somehow," Laprade told the I-Team in February 2011.

In that interview, Laprade denied he ever purposely exposed himself.

"I was -- and it's embarrassing. But I was trying to pee into a Gatorade bottle," he said.

Laprade was also disciplined in 2010 after a Pawtucket resident caught him and another officer sleeping during an overnight shift.

He said he loved his job and wanted to come back.

"I hope that they can see past this somehow, and see the good police officer that I am," Laprade said in 2011.

But city leaders disagree, and are fighting a legal battle to have him fired.

Laprade kept his job after an earlier hearing, because the city missed a deadline by just one day.

Pawtucket's attorneys are taking the issue to Rhode Island's Supreme Court, asking that the case be sent back to the city's disciplinary committee so Laprade could be fired.

City leaders said they've also spent another $20,000 or so in legal fees. A final resolution could take months.

Laprade did not return a message left Wednesday.