Schenectady police lieutenant demoted

Mark McCracken will now work as a patrol officer
Mark McCracken, now a patrol officer with Schenectady police, leaves court in January with his girlfriend.
Mark McCracken, now a patrol officer with Schenectady police, leaves court in January with his girlfriend.

SCHENECTADY — Mark McCracken is no longer a lieutenant in the Schenectady Police Department and is now employed as a patrol officer.

Police Sgt. Matt Dearing confirmed Wednesday that McCracken, who was placed on administrative leave in January after being arrested for allegedly violating an order of custody and visitation, is now a patrol officer for the department. 

Dearing also said McCracken is no longer on administrative leave, and city Public Safety Commissioner Michael Eidens said Wednesday that a disciplinary proceeding against McCracken was resolved without a hearing.

“That matter has been closed, meaning it’s been resolved and closed,” Eidens said. “The law prohibits me from commenting on the result.”

McCracken, who said Wednesday that he is on sick leave for a broken thumb, refused to comment on his job status when contacted by The Daily Gazette.

Dearing would not comment on whether McCracken’s demotion was a result of his legal troubles.

Rebecca Bauscher, McCracken’s attorney, said McCracken didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.

“The police department insisted on a demotion or they would try to have him fired,” Bauscher said.

McCracken was placed on paid administrative leave after he was accused of violating an order of custody and visitation by coming into “close physical proximity” to his wife, Cassie Walker, at a Union College hockey rink during their son’s game on Jan. 7.

McCracken and Walker are in the process of divorcing.

McCracken was scheduled to be in Schenectady City Court on Wednesday so a judge could rule on Bauscher’s previous motion to dismiss the charges against him. That hearing was canceled due to inclement weather.

The appearance has not yet been rescheduled, Bauscher said.

For several years, McCracken, who was sworn in as an officer in July 2002, served as the department’s spokesman. He was even considered a finalist for the chief of police post in 2016.

The demotion could impact the amount of overtime McCracken will receive in the future, which has landed him among the top earners on the city payroll for several years. He was listed as the second-highest earner in the city in 2017.

Police officers receive time-and-a-half based on their base salaries. In 2017, McCracken made $108,178.37 in base pay and $75,965.44 in overtime, bringing him to a total of $183,137.01 for the year.

According to city records, patrol officers make between $84,000 and $85,000.

Dearing was not sure how much McCracken will earn as a patrol officer.

Police Chief Eric Clifford did not return requests for comment.

McCracken has had a spotty history with the police department.

Most recently, the department’s professional standards unit found he used excessive force against a handcuffed woman, Nicola Cottone, in 2016, causing a serious head wound.

According to a filing in a lawsuit brought by Cottone against McCracken and Officer Andrew MacDonald, McCracken also took a photo of the head injury, which the internal investigation report said was a violation of procedure. The report, though, did not specify any punishment levied against McCracken for that incident.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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