Monday, July 25, 2016

Cuba Police Chief: Officer acted in "unprofessional" manner, but did not violate the law UPDATED

(Note- this incident was captured on video and posted online. We have asked if the officer will face formal discipline. We are waiting for the response.)
UPDATE at 2:53 a.m. 7/26 from Chief Burch: "A verbal counseling session was enforced. We also are going to make sure we are doing all the training we can on dealing with social media and various other topics. It should be noted that the kids were in violation of the law and the officer did not violate any civil rights just shouldn't have argued with the person like he did."
From the Cuba Police Department:
In reference to the recent issue that transpired in a village park here in Cuba, the Cuba Police Department would like to issue the following release:
Date : July 25th, 2016
The Cuba Police Department would like to acknowledge that the officer that responded to a report of foul, obscene language transpiring in a public park acted in a manner that was unprofessional by engaging in an argument with a member of the public. These actions were however, not illegal and did not violate any member of the public's rights. These actions were unbecoming of a public official and have been addressed with that officer in an effort to prevent future issues or similar interactions. The Cuba Police Department has received an overwhelming amount of complaints of juveniles and adults alike engaging in behavior that is not acceptable for a public setting. The laws of New York State and the Village of Cuba do not allow for obscene language and or gestures in a place of public gathering. From this point forward there will be no tolerance for this type of behavior in the park or any other public location in the Town or Village of Cuba. Often police officers are expected to be an enforcer of our laws, a teacher, a counselor, and even at times a parent figure. The job of a police officer is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. That being said we are not perfect and human like everyone else. We would like to encourage parents to make sure they are doing all that they can to take an active role in their child's life and hold them accountable for their actions also. Disruptive behavior in Chamberlain Park, as a form of public disturbance, is an ongoing issue that we in the Cuba Police Department have been trying to a address. While we commend all of our officers and the work that they do, we also recognize that this situation could have been handled better. We encourage you to continue to contact us with issues like this, as only in recognizing our flaws can we then work to make them better. We will be continuing to develop our officers and the ways that they approach and communicate with the public we serve. We recognize, first and foremost, that we are public servants who try to make life better and safer for everyone in the Cuba community. As the Chief of Police I recognize that these issues are mine to deal with and I accept responsibilities as they ultimately fall on my shoulders and the public should know that they may contact my office at anytime for any complaints.
Dustin T. Burch
Chief of Police