Wednesday, August 22, 2007

They should give a hoot

"No one was on official duty and no police cars were taken. It was a group of adults being adults," stated Police Chief Bill Werner.

The trip was schedualed to begin at 6 pm August 16 2007 from Port Jervis NY and was intended to "build camraderie." Someone outside the police department had planned the trip and circulated the flyer to the male police officers within the Deerpark NY department.

Three carloads of offduty Deerpark officers, residents and outside law enforcement officials, headed off on what the flyer claimed was a "Hooters Run." The destination was a Hooters restaurant, known for it's popular wings and scantily clad waitresses, in Franklin NJ, about 35 minutes away.

While it isn't known if any female officers went on the outing, the issue that was discussed by town officials in a closed meeting Monday, August 20, was how the town had been left with no police. There was only one state trooper on call that Thursday evening to cover the second largest land municipality and no town officers.

"Well the chief made a mistake in schedualing," stated Supervisor Mark House.

House stated that schedualing in the department that has 18 officers, three of which are female is a day-to-day challenge. Two officers were schedualed to work that evening but one couldn't work because of a suspension and the other officer schedualed did not feel comfortable working the shift alone. House also stated that state troopers take over coverage of the town after midnight.

Werner stated that no patrols were cancelled so that people could go on the "Hooters" trip and no patrol cars were used for the trip. That does make me wonder, if using patrol cars was an option. Town officials were concerned about the lack of coverage the town had that evening and plan to investigate the matter further. House stated that the choice of destination "doesn't look good," but the real issue was a lack of town coverage because they had been left with no on-duty town officers.

Certainly, there are a few issues to be investigated. Why the flyer was not passed to female officers, why that restaurant was chosen to "build comraderie," and definately, how do you make a mistake of schedualing an officer to work who is suspended at that time? Were there visions of buckets of wings clouding the schedualing roster?

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