Dec. 3, 2008: Police investigation is long overdue

in

To The Editor:
During the last few months of the Cross administration, a letter was sent to the Shandaken Town Board concerning the alleged unethical and unprofessional conduct of the town’s chief of police and detective. Among other things, Chief McGrath and Detective Holland allegedly felt that it was necessary to discuss police matters while out socializing in public. Their actions may have adversely affected the outcome of at least one criminal matter. Not surprisingly, it seems as though no effort was made by the town board to remedy the situation.
It has come to my attention that very recently a letter of complaint was again sent to the Shandaken Town Board by someone that had a less than positive interaction with Detective Holland. According to the information at hand, Detective Holland once again allegedly felt it necessary to discuss police matters while socializing at a local establishment.
Last summer Detective Holland was involved in a car accident in Schoharie County. If my information is correct, and I believe it is, he was driving an undercover police car on his day off when the accident occurred. His explanation was that he was meeting with a confidential informant. Along with the reason why he was in Schoharie County spending Shandaken tax dollars, there also seems to be some discrepancy about who if anyone was in the car with Detective Holland. It is alleged that his son was in the police car with him. There obviously is some question surrounding the circumstances of the accident and yet it appears as though Chief McGrath felt it was unimportant to look into the matter. I was always under the impression that police departments had to maintain records on all police informants. If the police chief is going to try to cover up the truth, perhaps the town board should speak to the officer that responded to the accident and investigate this matter further. Does anyone else see a pattern developing? Although I hear this type of behavior is nothing new.
There are certainly legitimate reasons for traveling and conducting police business outside of the town, but I find it hard to understand why tax dollars may have been spent on a joy ride two counties away, when there have been many occasions when there was no police presence in our town, including weekends. Please don’t misunderstand; the majority of Shandaken’s police officers are professional but I clearly feel the current chief is unable to properly manage the department.
I think that it’s safe to say he is a big part of the problem. The chief is a funny that everyone seems to like but this isn’t a popularity contest. The chief’s position is one of responsibility and putting a stop to these shenanigans is long overdue.

Sol Rothstein,
Shandaken/NYC