A Nassau police cadet was fired due to issues related...

A Nassau police cadet was fired due to issues related to her "conduct and performance" at the academy, officials said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Nassau police cadet was fired Friday due to issues related to her "conduct and performance" at the academy, officials said.

Martha Amato, 41, of West Babylon, had been part of a class of 160 selected in May, despite having a criminal conviction on her record.

In November 1991, Amato was arrested in Nassau County on charges of second-degree forgery and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, both felonies; as well as third-degree forgery, a misdemeanor, court records show.

She pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor forgery charge and was sentenced to 80 hours of community service and a $200 fine, the records show.

Amato's firing came one month after Newsday first inquired with the police department about her arrest and conviction.

The cadet was terminated "during her status as a probationary employee at the Police Academy, in accordance with applicable Civil Service Law," police Insp. Kenneth Lack said in a statement.

"The basis of her termination was based solely upon her conduct and performance as a Police Officer Recruit. As such, the specifics are deemed confidential . . . as they are personnel records used to evaluate performance toward continued employment," Lack said.

Amato could not be reached for comment.

Under state law, people with criminal convictions may be certified ineligible by a civil service office. But such candidates are not automatically disqualified under the law.

Amato disclosed her conviction when she applied to become a police officer, a Nassau police source said. The misdemeanor conviction "would not preclude anyone from becoming a police officer," the source said.

But another police source said Amato's criminal history had been discussed by county officials, who debated whether to admit her to the academy. Competition for jobs in the department is fierce, with candidates often waiting months or years for an opportunity to join.

"She's politically connected," the source said. "Otherwise, she never makes it as far as she did. The police department generally doesn't hire convicted criminals."

Karl Kampe, executive director of Nassau's Civil Service Commission, did not return a call Friday seeking comment.

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