Late last week, Troy's Police Department placed its entire Drugs and Firearms Interdiction Unit on administrative leave.
Information has been trickling out regarding an internal investigation that stems from the unit reportedly entering a residence without a search warrant and then attempting to cover it up.
The Times Union cites "sources who were provided information on the case but are not authorized to speak about it" with the explanation that officers were tipped off by another Capital Region police agency regarding suspected criminal activity at that residence.
WTEN-TV spoke with a landlord who told the station that the police activity occurred June 9 at her apartment dwelling on Oakwood Avenue. She claimed officers staked out the building for six hours , telling her they believed one of the apartments was being used as a stash house for cocaine and heroin and a wanted fugitive was hiding out in it. When contacted by WAMC, Troy police declined to comment on the matter.
Mark McGrath represents District 2 on the city council. "From what I've read and certainly from what I heard from officials, a mistake was made, which probably could have been handled, dealt with maybe with internal discipline. But how many times have we seen the cover-up is always worse than the mistake."
Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello, a frequent critic of the Democratic Mayor Patrick Madden, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. She issued a statement late Friday:
"I was informed by Troy Mayor Patrick Madden that all members of the Troy Police Department's
Firearms Interdiction and Narcotics Suppression (FINS) unit were placed on
leave. I am deeply concerned that this would remove from the front line of a
total police department unit in our city's fight against drugs and related
matters. I am calling upon the Mayor to advise the Council and the public as to
how the city would fill the gap and responsibilities of this important unit.
While part of this issue is a personnel issue, according to the city, the
actual circumstances of this case should be revealed. In other words, what
specifically caused the removal of this unit from their duties of protecting
the public? I don't believe in anytime in the city history has a total police
department unit been removed from carrying out their duties and
McGrath expects the case will go through appropriate legal channels. "I believe there's six officers, and they will all be afforded due process within their unique contracts. I know they're handling it internally, I was appreciative that it wasn't corruption or anything of that nature. Unfortunately, you know it was a mistake that sorta got outta hand."
Mayor Madden's office responded to a request for comment by emailing WAMC the following statement:
“On Thursday, June 15, all members of the Troy Police Department’s Firearms Interdiction and Narcotics Suppression (FINS) unit were placed on leave resulting from a personnel matter which involves the conduct of certain officers of the unit during a particular occasion.
“An internal investigation has been commenced to protect the integrity of the Troy Police Department and reassure the public’s continued trust and confidence in our law enforcement officials.
“The Troy Police Department is a highly trained, professional group of men and women who are committed to serve and protect our community with distinction, and the conduct of a few officers on a specific occasion should not impact the reputation of the entire department.”