Expecting preferential treatment, a Riverhead man falsely identified himself as a police officer to emergency room personnel on four separate occasions so he could get pain medication, Nassau County police said.

John Calabrese, 42, of Willow Pond Drive faces criminal impersonation charges after presenting himself as a police officer to the emergency department at Nassau University Medical Center three times between January and June 1 and once at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, police said.

Each time he would complain of varying degrees of pain, according to a police report.

On Tuesday, at about 9:24 a.m., a supervisor at Nassau University Medical Center's emergency department recognized Calabrese from previous visits and pointed him out to a police officer who was at the hospital on an unrelated matter, police said.

Det. Lt. Ray Cote of the Third Squad said Calabrese uses the ruse to try to get better treatment in the emergency room. Cote said Calabrese would tell emergency-room personnel he was hurt on a recent arrest and needed pain medicine to get back out on the job.

"He's got a problem with painkillers," Cote said. "He tries to use his pretended occupation to get better treatment."

He was successful at least a couple of times in getting prescriptions, Cote said.

He is charged with four counts of criminal impersonation was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead.

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