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Highland Constabulary internal turmoil

By Derek Kirk
Posted 8/19/22

HIGHLAND – The constabulary of the Town of Highland was put on suspension after a Town Meeting on April 12 and has remained in that state since. In further development of the story, the …

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Highland Constabulary internal turmoil


HIGHLAND – The constabulary of the Town of Highland was put on suspension after a Town Meeting on April 12 and has remained in that state since. In further development of the story, the Democrat recently obtained an unredacted report of “substantiated” allegations against members of the Constabulary.

The town released a redacted version of the report last month which was dated May 31. 

The town has confirmed the contents of the unredacted report obtained by the Democrat.

According to the unredacted report produced on July 18, six allegations of misconduct were brought up before the Constables Committee, who were charged with the task of reviewing the allegations of “impropriety by and amongst members of the Constabulary.” 

Councilman Chris Tambini filled in for Deputy Supervisor James Gutekunst on the committee. 

“Substantiated” allegations

Three of the six allegations were “substantiated” by the Constables Committee. The three other allegations were unsubstantiated.

“Substantiated” allegations included a statement from a Constable addressing inappropriate and unprofessional comments made by Constable Marc Anthony, multiple accounts of violation of the Constable policy memo and town camera and security policy by Constable Anthony, and another Constable’s allegations against Anthony regarding “workplace harassment, bullying, [and] creation of hostile work environment.”

According to the report, evidence of the violations of the  Constable policy memo and town camera and security policy by Anthony included photos of a camera in the Constables Office, photos of keys remaining in unlocked Constable vehicles, photos of personal items being stored in the Constable garage, and photos of an unlocked filing cabinet in the Constable’s office.

Interviews conducted

The report states that two interviews were conducted by the Constable Committee with Constables mentioned in the report, in which both gave statements against Anthony’s actions in his official capacity as Constable.

The first interviewee said that they do “not feel safe working with Constable Anthony,” and brought forth an account of Constable Anthony’s responsibility in “creat[ing] a hostile workplace environment,” and stating that Anthony “does not follow any policies or procedures and is a liability for the department and the town.”

According to the report, Constable Anthony is alleged by the first interviewee to say that he will “get [Constable] Arias’ badge”, and that “he runs this town. This is my playground.”

The first interviewee also alleges that “[Anthony] is operating his wood business while working for the town,” and that “Cars left on empty,” and “Keys are in the cars.” 

The interviewee went on to say that “It’s dangerous.”

The second interviewee “confirmed that Constable Anthony does not take redirection from other LEO [Law Enforcement Officers] except for a certain few,” mentioned that “the camera covering is an ongoing concern,” and “confirmed the confrontation between Constable Anthony and Constable Arias.” This interviewee also “shared that the perception of ‘senior guy’ leads to inequality in scheduling shifts.”

In the report it alleges that Constable Anthony was on patrol and was not present for either of the interviews, but that “he waited outside of the interview location harassing Councilman Tambini.” It goes on to say that “at the conclusion of the day of the interviews, he [Constable Anthony] followed both councilpersons out of Town Hall, following Tambini towards Barryville in a menacing manner.”

Review of Personnel, Training Files

Personnel files of those in question were also looked at by the Committee, which included records of numerous complaints in the personnel file of Constable Anthony, a lack of Peace Officer Training with only 35 hours, and a lack of taser training with the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) from Constable Anthony.

The report states that a representative from the New York DCJS said that 35 hours is the minimum time requirement, but “the hiring agency can impose any additional training as they see fit.” The representative also stated that at the time, there was no current roster reflecting handgun qualifying for Constable Anthony to permit him to carry a weapon while on duty.

The report states that the New York DCJS training certification expired in December of 2021.

According to the report, there was no sexual harassment training or CPR/AED training recorded in the personnel file of Constable Anthony at the time.

Meetings with  law enforcement

According to the report, a meeting was held with Sullivan County Fire Investigator Art Hawker to ascertain the feasibility of Article 75 proceedings as well as viability of transition to the Police Department.

Invoking Article 75 of Chapter 8: Civil Practice Laws & Rules of the Consolidated Laws of NY involves the commencement of arbitration hearings and proceedings.

A meeting was also held with Liberty Police Chief Steven D’Agata regarding police force and disciplinary issues.

According to the report, Chief D’Agata discussed the immediate vulnerability of the lack of supervision and rank within the Constabulary, as well as the vulnerability regarding the failure to train and record the training.

Chief D’Agata also reviewed the potential for Article 75 proceedings on the basis of “reasonable case with violation of Town policy and aggressive language with [the] Board” and “insubordination.”

Civil Service procedures for hiring and discipline and the disallowing of his officers to “moonlight”, or hold a second position of employment while in office, were also reviewed by Chief D’Agata.

Chief D’Agata reviewed the process for Inter-municipal Agreement with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office as well, and offered support in whatever decision the Committee chooses.

Moving forward

There were a number of recommendations given in the final section report that offer possible solutions for both “substantiated” and “unsubstantiated” allegations. The list of recommendations moving forward included:

The confirmation of all training required with New York Division of Criminal Justice Services and New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal. 

The creation and implementation of a training rubric.

To reinstate appropriately qualified constables.

To provide inappropriately qualified Constables with 45 days to complete required training. 

It was also recommended that the commencement of Article 75 hearing against Constable Anthony for “insubordination, multiple violations of Town policy...and harassment” be activated, as well as to hire a non-patrol supervisor responsible for maintenance of training records and disciplinary recommendations. 

The Democrat reached out to Constable Anthony regarding the allegations outlined in the report but he declined to comment.

This story is developing.


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