Multiple SUNY New Paltz police officers allegedly slept on the job and falsified timesheets, according to a complaint received by the state Inspector General’s office in April. The complainant, who requested confidentiality from the IG, alleged “that a hidden camera was installed by administration” and caught the officers sleeping after a student complained to the college’s president “regarding excessive police presence in Deyo Hall,” a suite-style residence hall.
The IG referred the complaint in mid-May to SUNY central administration “for review and appropriate action,” requesting “the results of your examination” by June 26.
In July, university auditor Michael Abbott advised the IG that the campus’ employee relations office investigated the allegations and took “certain disciplinary actions.”
The complainant had also alleged that after the cops were caught sleeping, they “created a hostile work environment by retaliating and sending false emails or post cards [sic] to the Chief at his private residence as well as posting false claims about current state employees on social media and in the press.”
But since those cops were no longer employed by SUNY New Paltz, the college “indicated that it does not have jurisdiction over the employees and has no grounds to act on this allegation,” Abbott wrote in his July letter. He added, however, that the college “does not believe that the former employees are creating a hostile work environment.”
Abbott also said that SUNY New Paltz retained a consultant to work with the campus police department “to assess operational structure, communication, community and union relations, and leadership development.”
According to the state comptroller’s website, SUNY New Paltz hired D. Stafford & Associates, a firm that specializes in campus policing issues, in late March. About two weeks before the contract began, a union representing nearly two dozen members of the force called for the removal of the chief, citing crime statistics that the campus, in turn, said the union “misrepresented,” Kingston’s Daily Freeman reported. (A union representative quoted in that article did not respond to a request for comment.)
D. Stafford & Associates referred The Alt to the college for comment. A campus spokesperson would only say that the college “does not comment on personnel matters.” The SUNY New Paltz chief of police and a spokesperson for SUNY central administration did not respond to requests for comment.
Abbott concluded his July letter by saying that the central administration considers “the matter closed and no further action…warranted.”
The Alt obtained the complaint and the university’s response from the IG through a Freedom of Information Law request. The names of the police officers and other information were redacted. We had requested the records, among others, after obtaining a list of all cases closed by the agency since the beginning of last year.
Read Abbott’s letter and the complaint below: