Posted Oct. 28, 2015 at 12:46 PM
Updated Oct 28, 2015 at 12:50 PM
WOODBURY - Woodbury police officers have voted “no confidence” in their suspended chief, Richard Vasquez, and issued a blistering critique of his performance that makes clear they don’t want him to return.
Vasquez “fails to provide the leadership, professionalism, objectivity and vision to properly discharge his duties for the Town of Woodbury,” Officer Jahn Farrell, president of the Woodbury Police Benevolent Association, wrote in a letter to the Woodbury Town Board on Tuesday. “The morale of the Police Department has so deteriorated ... that the PBA believes the damage is not repairable under Chief Vasquez’ administration.”
The town suspended Vasquez for 30 days for undisclosed reasons after an Oct.15 meeting at which the Town Board talked privately and then voted 5-0 to authorize disciplinary charges against the chief. Vasquez, who has been Woodbury police chief for three years and is running for Rockland County sheriff in next week’s election, has claimed the town suspended him because he refused to have police vehicles serviced at a local auto shop.
Vasquez blamed Rockland Sheriff Lou Falco for the PBA vote in a statement his campaign issued on Wednesday.“This is all a sad attempt to cover up his poor record,” he said.
Farrell, who could not be reached Wednesday, said in a press release that the 17-member PBA voted “overwhelmingly” for the “no confidence” sentiment on Tuesday. In his letter, Farrell said the vote was unrelated to the board’s disciplinary action, although he did say that officers have met with the board “on several occasions”to complain about Vasquez and ask it to intercede.
The letter paints Vasquez as an indifferent commander, with “no sustained or open communication with Town residents or Department officers and employees.” It also accuses him of bullying and punishing certain officers in violation of their union contract,and of recently acting “hostile and out-of-control” toward “the entire PBA membership.”
In a separate, three-page complaint to the Town Board on Monday, a PBA attorney alleged that Vasquez had angrily - and wrongly - accused his officers of stealing a magnetic campaign sign from his car on Oct. 5. According to the account, the chief repeatedly demanded that a criminal complaint be filed about the missing sign,only to be told that outdoor surveillance cameras at the police station showed that he came to work without the sign on his car that day.
To view the full article, click here.