Rotterdam

Rotterdam continues audit into police department

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PHOTOGRAPHER:

The town of Rotterdam is continuing to conduct an audit on its police department, following only the release of recommendations related to a “Phase 1” audit of the department.

“What the Phase 1 really was about was process and procedure,” said Town Supervisor Steven Tommasone. “Phase 2 is about specifically looking at files, data contained in those files and doing an audit of a robust sampling of those having to do with the registry.”

Announcement of a “Phase 2” audit of the department comes after Tommasone sent a press release Feb. 18 stating the department didn’t have proper policies and procedures in place for the sex offender registry after an officer made a mistake registering an offender.

Tommasone denied The Daily Gazette’s Freedom of Information Law request for the full audit verbally Thursday and in writing Friday.

“This agency has determined that the records that you requested regarding the “Confidential Audit of Town of Rotterdam’s Compliance with the Sex Offender Registration Act” on February 24, 2021 are not required to be made available to the public based on FOIL Public Officers Law Section 89 (2)(a),” states the letter of denial. “This request is denied because the findings of the audit are privileged material and exempted from disclosure by state statute, specifically CPLR 4503 (a)(1).”

The Civil Practice Law and Rule statute states that communication between an attorney and its client is confidential.

However, the town did release recommendations for the department. Those recommendations include:

The police department created a written policy on the standard operating procedures for the town’s sex offender registry, including the responsibilities of the detective who oversees the registry and resources available to that officer. It should also include instructions on how to carry out the procedures for the registry and a process to follow should an incident involving the registry occur.

The department should implement quality assurance measures, which would be periodically applied to review the department’s compliance with registry procedures.

The department should design a training program highlighting the role, goals and objectives of the registry and that a segment of the department’s annual training cover compliance with the Sex Offender Registry Act.

Town Attorney Kate McGuirl said the town does not need to pass another resolution to hire Barclay Damon for “Phase 2” of the audit.

“When the resolution for Barclay Damon passed it was to perform an audit,” McGuirl said. “The audit of policies and procedures encompassed the full audit, which began with phase 1, which is now greatly narrowed in scope to phase 2, based on the phase 1 findings.”

Tommasone also released the name of the officer involved in Phase 1 of the audit in response to a FOIL request.

According to the documents Investigator Claude Sawyer did not contest violations he received on his employee record from the police department. He was disciplined by having eight hours of occurred time forfeited.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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