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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Wednesday, April 24

More than just rumors...

UPDATE: At about the same time that Lucian hit publish on this blog post, WNYT ran an exclusive report confirming Cole's retirement. We've since confirmed that news, too, although Cole has not returned numerous phone calls. Here's our story on his retirement and his turbulent 3-1/2-year tenure as police chief:
-- Emily

This is a rumor, but one that I have heard from a number of people (people who would know if it were true).

Chief Cole may be retiring from his role at the head of the Saratoga Spring Police Department.

I'm not sure of the reasons.

I have put calls in to: Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen, Deputy Commissioner Eileen Finneran, Cole's office and cell phones but they didn't answer and I haven't heard back.

I did speak to Assistant Chief Greg Veitch, who I hear is the likely successor, but he said he had no comment about the rumors.

He said, however, that he is no longer considering a run for Saratoga County Sheriff, a change from earlier this month when he told me he was.

Police Benevolent Association President Paul Veitch said he too had heard rumors, but would not comment on them.

Civil Service Commission Secretary Patsy Barrigan said her office has not received any letters of resignation or retirement from Cole.

She said a Civil Service list is being compiled from a test in March but won't be done until June. In the meantime, the names of the five people who took it are not public.

Last time around (in June 2011, about a year and a half after Cole's promotion to chief), there were only two people who took the test: Greg Veitch and now-retired Captain Michael Chowske.

Barrigan said Chowske still has time to come out of retirement, though, if he wanted to be considered for the job (but added, "who would want to come out of retirement?")

Like I said, I don't know the reasons, but it has certainly been a tough run for Cole as chief.

He started the job behind the 8-Ball, coming in after seven officers were laid off amid budget concerns and things didn't get better.

He was the focus of a sexting scandal that at a time when Rep. Anthony Weiner's political career was crashing and burning for the same reason. 

Last year the department was roundly criticized for its handling of information following a reported rape on a city street.

More recently there have been a series of high-profile crimes (alleged machete assault, alleged hammer assault, alleged beating of a woman with a BB gun on Granger Avenue, sexual assault and robbery of a woman outside her home on Union Street).

Major crimes, including violent crimes, are up for the third year running (See 2010 Public Safety Annual Report, 2011 Annual report and the recent 2012 Public Safety Annual Report).

Recently Assistant Chief Veitch gave a presentation at a Planning Board meeting to address some of the concerns of the public over safety in the Spa City. 

Anyway, I'll of course be following up on this tomorrow (barring hearing from any of the people I have already called tonight), so stay tuned. 

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't mention all the drug arrests, alcohol related arrests, and the good Chris has done for the department. He was short changed on staff when he started as chief. He had to deal with Rick wirthless and dud dudla who did not want him as chief and did nothing but hinder him in his job. Dudla had his son in law and mike biss working against every move Chris made. They had there daily meetings at the vfw to undermine Chris. I think Chris has done a great job with the department and wish him the absolute best.

April 25, 2013 at 6:34 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points 6:34. Thanks to people like Ken Ivins who was a big part of the department layoffs. Everyone is sooo worried about a ridiculous lapse of common sense when we should be worried about the corruption in the accounts department, and all the lawsuits he has caused to the taxpayers.

April 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:34 - The Chief was promoted just before Commissioner Wirth took his position as Commissioner. He was on an 6 month trial basis. If the Commissioner didn't support him he had not only one but two chnaces to eliminate him from his position and did not. As for Dudla his days on the political scene are up as he also went behind the commissioner's back as well. Chief Cole does have personal problems and does need to address them Who would retire after 23 years and get only 50% of their top three years. Makes no sense. There is more to this than anyone knows but thta is Chief Cole's business. I too wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor. Maybe he will learn that accountability in the department means something.

April 26, 2013 at 6:26 AM 
Anonymous Tony said...

This is cool!

July 29, 2013 at 3:56 AM 

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