The Glenville police officer who used a potato gun to shoot out a parking lot light behind the police station had the charges against him adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and has resigned his position.
Christopher Charnews, 35, was in Niskayuna Town Court on Wednesday as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Charnews caused an estimated $630 worth of damage to the light behind the Glenridge Road police headquarters last August.
He also lighted two boxes of road flares in the police parking lot last February. The flares cost $130 total.
Charnews had initially faced a felony count of criminal mischief and two misdemeanor counts, but they were reduced to misdemeanors. Judge Paul S. Zonderman said Charnews must pay restitution for the damage and stay out of trouble for six months.
Charnews said, “I’m just moving on with my wife and kids.”
The case was heard in Niskayuna Town Court to avoid any professional conflict.
Charnews had been with the force since 2004 and spent three years before that as a dispatcher.
He had been on paid leave since mid-March following an internal investigation. Another officer, Edward Casey, was also placed on paid leave at that time and resigned on April 2. Police Chief Michael Ranalli has not disclosed whether it is related to the incident with which Charnews was charged.
Ranalli said Charnews’ resignation was effective immediately. He said Charnews would forfeit money owed him for compensatory time to cover the cost of restitution.
The two resignations leave the department with 20 officers instead of its normal complement of 22. Ranalli said previously the department is using overtime because it is short-staffed, but has not provided a specific number.
Ranalli said he intends to fill the positions pending Town Board approval. He said the plea agreement was a good resolution for the taxpayers.
“We need to put this incident behind us and we need to move on,” he said.
A third officer, Tim Smith, was suspended without pay in connection with an unrelated incident at about the same time. He has since returned to duty.
More from The Daily Gazette: