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politics

County Legislature Calls For Dismissal Of Charges Against Clarkstown Chief

Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature Alden Wolfe (D-Suffern) voted in favor of Clarkstown reinstating suspended Police Chief Mike Sullivan.
Chairman of the Rockland County Legislature Alden Wolfe (D-Suffern) voted in favor of Clarkstown reinstating suspended Police Chief Mike Sullivan. Photo Credit: Facebook/Alden H. Wolfe

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Rockland County Legislators are calling upon the Clarkstown Town Board to formally dismiss all charges leveled against suspended Police Chief Michael Sullivan and to immediately reinstate him.

“I don’t usually look for fights, but my blood boils if I think an injustice is taking place and that’s what I think is happening here,” Legislator Harriet Cornell (D-West Nyack) said. “Many of us in the County Legislature have joined together to express confidence in the integrity and professionalism of Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan. We believe the reasons given for his suspension were unwarranted and that he should be reinstated. What had started out as an over-the-top response for the chief’s delay over a weekend before suspending a sergeant at the bidding of the town supervisor has turned into a very sad and demoralizing spectacle."

Some Legislators noted that in the absence of a countywide police force, towns and villages coordinate efforts with the Rockland County Sheriff and District Attorney, so if there is an issue that roils one town, it also affects Rockland’s four other towns and multiple villages.

“Our law enforcement agencies work together to prevent crimes, to solve crimes and to keep each of us safe no matter their town or village boundary,” Chairman Alden H. Wolfe (D-Montebello) said. “It is thanks to that strategy that we live in a safe county at a time when safety is regularly in the minds of the public.”

Sullivan was suspended on July 20 on charges that included everything from insubordination to failure to perform duties.

Legislator Aney Paul (D-Nanuet) said that Clarkstown enjoys a reputation of one of the safest towns in the nation: “This is due in good part to the efforts of Chief Sullivan and the other officers in the Clarkstown Police Department,” Paul said. ‘He’s been doing his best to take care of our safety since becoming a police officer more than three decades ago. He has a track record and it is a good one.”

Sullivan has maintained his innocence and has sued the town in an effort to get his job back. A federal judge denied his request earlier this week to be reinstated.

When contacted on Friday about the vote, Clarkstown Director of Finance and Spokesman Vincent Balascio, said the town did not have a comment.

"Legislators should take a stand in favor of Sullivan, whose name is being dragged through the mud for “political reasons," said Legislator Ilan Schoenberger (D-Wesley Hills). “We should be sending a message that decent, hard-working, lifelong police officers who commit themselves to the betterment of not just Clarkstown, but the whole county, should not become the victim of internal political politics."

A copy of the resolution will be sent to Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann and the rest of the Town Board, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the Clarkstown Police Benevolent Association and the Police Chief’s Association of Rockland County.

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