A Fair Cop? / Incoming Police District Commander Closed Case Against Himself

Commander of police force coastal district recommended that police close a traffic investigation against himself and indict another driver.

Hagai Dotan, the incoming commander of the newly created Coastal District of the police force, officially recommended in 2008 that the police close a traffic investigation against himself and indict another driver.

Dotan, a former commander of the Judea and Samaria District who was appointed to the Coastal District earlier this month, signed a document with the recommendation while serving as deputy commander of the Northern District.

dotan - Haaretz - May 30 2011

At the time, the police car he was driving was involved in an accident with another car. Police said the driver of the other car failed to obey a stop sign.

Four of Dotan's subordinates also signed the recommendation.

Dotan said yesterday he would be happy if prosecutors were to review the case, which he maintained was closed lawfully.

"This driver burst onto an intersection and nearly killed me," he said. "I'm not hiding anything. As far as I'm concerned, the case can go to the prosecution for review tomorrow."

As for the fact that the four police officers who signed the recommendation served under him, and that he signed the document himself, Dotan said: "What can I do about the fact that [they] serve under me? Who do you want to investigate this accident? She drove into me and then I come out looking like a fool?"

One officer who signed the recommendation - Uzi Hadar, a division head of the accidents department in the Northern District - said on the form that "the police vehical does not appear to be at fault." A few days later, he was joined by superintendent Shimon Ben Shavo and Ilan Yadgar and Chief Superintendent David Harel.

The accident took place near Kibbutz Hasolelim in the Galilee, when a vehicle leaving the kibbutz crashed into Dotan's police car.

"Maj. Gen. Dotan, who served at the time as deputy commander of the Northern District, was injured in an accident after another vehicle failed to obey a stop sign," the police force said in a statement. "The driver of this vehicle was investigated and admitted failing to obey the sign, and was later convicted by a transportation court of the same.

Police said the document Dotan signed was a mere formality.

"Maj. Gen. Dotan signed the document as part of a formality that has no bearing on the judicial process involving the driver, and he signed it only after the investigation was completed," the statement said.