Nassau police officers disciplined for towing colleague's boat
Related mediaPolice misconduct on LI Interactive: Deadly force incidents 50 cases of police misconduct Secrecy law, weak oversight hide police misconduct Crime map: Latest incidents Recent LI mug shots
The Nassau police department has disciplined four marine bureau officers for using a county patrol vessel to tow a private boat registered to a retired colleague.
The officers used the county boat without authorization in April 2013 to move the sailboat out of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park marina in Oyster Bay to a mooring in the harbor.
"This incident was thoroughly investigated by the Nassau County Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau," said Insp. Kenneth Lack, a police spokesman. "Those officers who violated the departmental rules and regulations were appropriately disciplined by the commissioner of police." Lack said by law he was not allowed to disclose the penalty.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Newsday's investigation into LI police departments
CASE STUDIES: Police misconduct | Deadly force incidents
SURVEY: See where your lawmakers stand | Lawmakers respond
Routine towing of recreational boats is almost always done by commercial towing companies, said Adam Wheeler, vice president for towing services for the Virginia-based Boat Owners Association of the United States. He and other boating experts said most law enforcement vessels only tow boats that are in immediate danger.
An Oyster Bay Town bay constable, who said he did not want to be identified for fear of retribution, photographed the four officers moving the sailboat on April 1, 2013, and provided the images to Newsday, police and town officials.
Nassau police union chief James Carver identified the officers on the boat as Arthur Dalessandro of Lake Grove; Norman McCloy of Bayville, who Carver said has since retired; Robert J. Schmidgall, who is also the North Massapequa fire chief; and John Klesseraht of Yaphank. None responded to calls seeking comment.
A source close to the case said McCloy lost 20 days pay as part of an agreement to retire. Details of the disciplinary action for the other three could not be determined.
"This is obviously a noncriminal event here . . . a minor violation of rules and regulations, and that's kept in-house," Carver said.
At the time the sailboat, named Mariah, was in the marina, it was registered to retired Nassau marine bureau officer William Scharp of Farmingdale, records show. Sources said it was operated by Dalessandro for the past few years.