Union: Southampton cop 'safe' to return to work
Southampton's police union wants the decorated officer whose prescription drug addiction helped spur a Suffolk district attorney review of more than 100 cases to return to work, saying he's clean.
Officer Eric Sickles has undergone rehabilitation, Southampton Town Patrolmen's Benevolent Association vice president Det. Kevin Gwinn said Tuesday. He said it was "absolutely" safe for Sickles, a member of the drug crimes unit, to return to work.
Earlier this month, Sickles signed a stipulation agreement from the town's labor counsel. If the town board approves the agreement when it meets next Tuesday, Sickles would return to full duty.
The details of the stipulation are not yet public.
The district attorney's office declined to comment on Sickles' possible return. Police Chief Robert Pearce did not return calls for comment.
Gwinn said the union submitted a resolution to the town board to reinstate Sickles last week, along with a proposed resolution to allow officers to donate their unused sick time to Sickles.
Sickles "has addressed every single issue," Gwinn said. His supervisors were told by the union and by family members of Sickles' issues. "It should've been handled differently."
Law enforcement and town records detailed Sickles' battle with prescription drugs.
His wife, Erica Sickles, called his supervisors in October 2011 after her husband fell asleep at the kitchen table with his town-issued gun on the table. After a couple of days off, Sickles was allowed to return to work.
Sickles was one of the last officers in the now-disbanded Southampton Street Crimes unit, which investigated drug cases and handled confidential informants and drug buys. The Street Crimes unit office was found littered with drug paraphernalia, prescription drugs and plastic bags that tested positive for marijuana and cocaine.
The district attorney's office has already dismissed drug convictions against three individuals.