Johnstown officer’s July suspension cut short

A city police officer involved in a July domestic dispute and facing misdemeanor charges has returne

A city police officer involved in a July domestic dispute and facing misdemeanor charges has returned to duty after serving only a week of his 30-day suspension, the Johnstown Police Department said.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office charged Jason Blowers, 35, with third-degree assault and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, both class A misdemeanors, following a July 8 dispute at his Sprakers home.

Johnstown police placed him on administrative leave with pay three days later as they began an internal investigation into his conduct. Shortly thereafter, he was placed on suspension without pay, Chief Mark Gifford said.

“As the investigation continued to unfold, I put him back to work with pay pending the outcome of the entire situation — both criminally and administratively,” he said. The internal investigation will close following the disposition of criminal charges, Gifford added.

Calls to Root Town Court, where Blowers was arraigned and then released to appear at a later date, were not returned Friday.

Gifford said he conferred with city labor attorney Elayne Gold regarding Blower’s status at the department, but ultimately the decision to lift the suspension was his. “I converse with the labor attorney on many matters, as well as this one,” he said.

Blowers, who has been a Johnstown police officer about six years, earns a base salary around $48,000, Gifford said.

There is no indication as to what the internal investigation yielded regarding the charges against Blowers. When asked whether charges against an officer need to be cleared before the officer can return to duty, Gifford said that because of confidentiality laws he cannot reveal details of administrative personnel investigations.

“Every situation is different, and every situation has different circumstances,” he said. “I thought that bringing him back on duty, on full-duty status, was the prudent course to take.”

Montgomery County Undersheriff Jeffery Smith said in July that he could not comment on Blowers’ relation to the woman involved in the domestic dispute, but that she was treated at a hospital and then released.

Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation charges are lodged when someone applies pressure on the throat or neck of another person or blocks their nose or mouth.

Categories: Schenectady County

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