When it comes to the subject of police misconduct, one thing we don’t talk about enough is how often cops are able to get fired from one job only to go to another department and get hired again. On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear that he’s looking to close the “bureaucratic loopholes” in his state that allow for police officers to hold on to their credentials after losing their jobs due to their behavior while performing their duties.
ABC 10 reports that during a news briefing, Cuomo expressed his concerns over the phone that cops are allowed to continue being cops after being fired because their credentials don’t reflect their records of misdeeds.
“There can’t be these bureaucratic contrivances and loopholes that, ‘Well, he wasn’t fired for cause, he was allowed to resign, and therefore he can be a police officer somewhere else,’” Cuomo said, ABC reports. “If a police officer is not qualified or does not perform to the standards for one police agency, that doesn’t mean you take a person who acted unprofessionally and you let them go work in a different police department. That doesn’t work for the people of the state.”
Cuomo cited a story published by Times Union Sunday covering a former East Greenbush police officer who was allowed to keep his law enforcement certification even after being accused of making inappropriate sexual advances toward women he met while on-duty.
In that case, police records show that the officer had sex with a woman in his patrol car hours after he arrested her for shoplifting.
From Times Union:
The case exposes the loopholes that remain four years after the state amended its police certification regulations to prevent officers who are under investigation for misconduct, including potential criminal charges, from resigning or retiring from a department — and avoiding a disciplinary investigation — so they can seek employment at another law enforcement agency.
In the shoplifting incident, the 33-year-old former officer, Matthew C. Wyld, was alleged to have had a sexually charged conversation with the woman as he drove her to the police department following her June 2017 arrest at a Walmart. After she was processed at the police station and given an appearance ticket, he drove the woman back to her vehicle near the Walmart. Along the way, she sat in the front seat of his patrol car, and Wyld allegedly put his hand down her pants and fondled her during the ride.
According to police records obtained by the Times Union under a Freedom of Information Law request, Wyld contacted the woman later that night and they met behind a Holiday Inn while he was in uniform and still on duty. They allegedly had sex in and “on the hood” of his patrol car as he had promised her they would earlier that day during her arrest.
According to the report, Wyld was also caught “hitting on” a 17-year-old he met during a traffic stop by sending her inappropriate messages on Facebook. The internal investigation into Wyld’s conduct was never made public and the misconduct allegations were never forwarded to the district attorney’s office for review. Fortunately, Wyld hasn’t gotten another job on the force, but because he was able to retain his credentials, he reportedly sought employment with at least four other police departments after he resigned from the East Greenbush Police Department.
So yeah, maybe Cuomo is onto something here.
“I will be making proposals,” Cuomo said during the conference, according to ABC. “I want the people of this state to know trust is a two-way street and the police should trust the community and the community should trust the police and the conditions exist for both of them to do it, and if there is a bad cop, that bad cop should no longer be a police officer. A bad cop does a disservice to the 99.9% of good cops, and we’ll make sure that happens.”