As our many thousands of readers are aware, we have regularly reported on the Town of Coeymans Police Department, and the majority of those reports were utterly grim, reports of abuse, corruption, misuse of power, bullying, and generally the worst of the worst. Then, we were pleased to report on the terminations of Gregory “Dumpy Dumplin’” Darlington and his darling Gerald “Dirty–Hands–Jerry” Deluca, which we surmised was their choice to either go or be prosecuted. Since Darlington and Deluca have disappeared so, too, have the reports and complaints we regularly received. Once the new Chief, Peter J. McKenna, occupied the Chief’s office and cleaned up the garbage dump it had become, a real professional was in the driver’s seat. Things changed for the better almost overnight. Truth be told, we had our reservations about McKenna and we pulled no punches. But we do claim to publish the true facts and we have to own up to our misjudgment of the man and his capabilities. Much to our surprise, even the guy we used to refer to as “PsychoCop”, Ryan Johnson, has been brought back to Coeymans and has proved to be a 180° reversal of his former image. All of this and much more as we report below is due to the professional management and mentoring by Coeymans Police Chief Peter J. McKenna. That having been said, we also have to ask Why? Phil Crandall and his den of bullies are so intent on making life difficult for the Chief and his Department. Could it be they realize they don’t have crooks and cowards in the Department any more? Can’t they cope with dealing with real professional and ethical law enforcement, and a Chief who has management and communications skills that surpass those of Crandall and his bullies together? Read our article below and you decide.
That having been said, it’s truly beyond comprehension that the local media, especially the Ravena News Herald, can use more than a page of newsprint to report on a lost and recovered dog, and can miss a story like this. Where do they have their heads? Do you know, Mr John Johnson or Vince Vinciguerra of the Johnson Newspaper Group?
Peter J. McKenna, A Shining Star in a Dark Basement
and a Bright New Concept of Law Enforcement in the Town of Coeymans
In 2016, Chief Peter J. McKenna had a real opportunity strut his stuff and to use his experience in managing a department rounded out by personal hirings. Starting in 2015, McKenna has been selecting experienced Police Officers who wanted to continue working part time in an industry they had dedicated their lives to, and paired them with young men and women just beginning their careers in Law Enforcement. The new hires attended both full and part-time law enforcement academies without being paid for that time. By combining new with experienced, two objectives were accomplished; the newer Officers were trained by seasoned law enforcement professionals, with experience in police supervision, criminal investigations, narcotics investigations, traffic safety, and community policing. The grouping of part-time police officers provided a steady work schedule, minimizing the need to fill shifts with overtime (which comes from filling shifts with or for full time police officers). In previous years, the schedule was completely monthly, but by agreement with the union, McKenna and the Department moved to a quarterly schedule. Providing consistency afforded the rank and file a sense of continuity, and the need to fill shifts “at the last minute” dropped significantly. Now, that’s just background. The real meat – and – potatoes facts follow:
When Coeymans Police Chief Peter J. McKenna was hired to be Chief in late 2014, the department had two full – time sergeant positions. One of those positions was an evening supervisor, and the other, Sgt Ryan Johnson, was detailed to another agency (the DEA). Prior to Chief McKenna’s , the sergeants were the primary on-call supervisors when there were only patrol officers working the shift. When Chief McKenna assumed leadership of the department, he became the “first call” for any circumstances that required a supervisor; in other words, Chief McKenna was always on–call to supervise the department and its officers. By being on–call, Chief McKenna reduced the amount of overtime by the highest-paid officers in the department.
In 2015, Sergeant Dan Contento moved from a Supervisory Patrol position to the School Resource Officer (SRO) position (when school is in session). Although this did not reflect in a the direct reduction in costs in the departmental budget, what it did mean is an indirect savings: Here’s how: By placing a sergeant-grade officer in the SRO spot Chief McKenna made possible a salary reimbursement to the town for the time Contento is dedicated to the school district as the school SRO. The great news is that because of Chief McKenna’s excellent management and planning , the Town of Coeymans was reimbursed more than $41,000 of the Sergeant Contento’s salary by the RCS school district in FY 2016. Anyone with half of a brain would expect, and we believe this reimbursement should have been returned or at least returned to the Coeymans Police Department’s budget allocations, but this is not Coeymans Town Supervisor Philip Crandall’s reasoning. Crandall says it should be viewed as town revenue and placed in the Town’s general fund (obviously in order to hire a Crandall crony during a hiring and spending freeze). That makes no sense to us at all and it appears that Crandall is abusing superior management by withholding well earned incentive from the Coeymans Police Department, incentive that was earned by virtue of Chief McKenna’s wise judgment and management experience. This reasoning is further supported by the fact that, by assigning the sergeant–grade officer to the school, the reimbursement to the Coeymans Police Department is about 10,000 dollars more than it would be if a patrol officer were to have filled the position.
We say that Crandall’s mismanagement of the money saved by Chief McKenna’s management of his law enforcement staff is wrong! Crandall has no right to take that money reimbursed by the RCS school district and padding his cronies’ pockets while abusing Chief McKenna’s professional management, and at the same time refusing to allocate funds to the Coeymans Police Department for needed equipment and activities.
[Editor’s Note: We will be publishing in an upcoming article some information that supports this evaluation of Phil Crandall’s physical and financial bullying of Town of Coeymans professional staff. Phil Crandall has an inferiority complex that is aggravated by stupidity. But more on that later with proof how he has no money in the budget for workers but plenty for his cronies!]
The second sergeant-grade position, that of Sgt Ryan Johnson, was detailed by Chief McKenna’s predecessor, Gregory “Dumpy Dumplin” Darlington to another agency, the DEA.. That redeployment of a Coeymans police sergeant did not have the positive effect of returning funds back to the Department, since the sergeant’s salary was not reimbursed but only the overtime incurred (up to a predetermined amount) was reimbursable. The fact that the sergeant’s salary was not reimbursed was the result of poor negotiation and even worse management by Chief McKenna’s predecessor “Dumpy Dumplin'” Darlington. Chief McKenna brought Sergeant Ryan Johnson back to the Department in October 2016, with the result that the Department was able to reduce 1 patrol position, and fill it with returned sergeant. The bottom line is that Coeymans now was paying the sergeant for services rendered to Coeymans and not to an outside agency and a patrol position was eliminated, further increasing the net savings!
Chief McKenna has succeeded in slimming down a bloated deparment created by his predecessors
Under previous Department management, there were two “part-time” Investigator positions, 1 detailed Senior Investigator position, several so – called “B line positions”, an SRO position (school security), two “C line positions”, 1 supervisory C line position and an A line spot. [Editor’s Note: A, B, and C positions might be confusing so here is the key: B is days, C is 4-midnight and A is midnight to 8 am. Hope that helps!] The SRO, a 1 day position, the Sr. Investigator position, the C line position, the A line position, and C line supervisor position were all full time. Before Chief McKenna, these positions provided full benefits such as vacation, sick and personal days off, which meant when a full time officer took the day off, his position, was filled with a part time officer, effectively paying two people for 1 working spot. The part time Investigator spots routinely logged far more hours than the budget allocation [Editor’s Note: at best this was an indication of lousy management, ignorance of budgeting and a lack of familiarity with the department’s operation; in reality it was more likely Darlington’s padding his darlings’ pockets with town money.] Furthermore, before Chief McKenna took over the Department the “time management” for patrol shifts was uneven. With McKenna’s hiring practices in place, he was able to alter the hours of some patrol shifts to provide two – person coverage twenty to twenty-two hours a day, and reduce unnecessary redundancies in patrol shifts; Instead of the consistent A-B-C lines, McKenna put some officers on noon to 8 p.m. shifts, some (on Saturdays and Sundays on 12 hour shifts from 8a.m. to 8 p.m.), and the return of Sergeant Ryan Johnson to full dedication to Coeymans allowed the Department to employ Sgt Ryan Johnson in a dual capacity as a supervisor and as a patrol officer. According to Chief McKenna, his logic is that Coeymans is not so large a department that the positions need to be compartmentalized.
Chief McKenna has been able to reduce the excess hours, non-essential shifts, redundancy of tasks, and trim the budget by more than $60,000 dollars from the scheduled amount in the budget
Having a supervisor on during this shift also eliminates the need to contact an off-duty supervisor at home if circumstances would require. The Department before McKenna had previously provided only one officer working the midnight shift; McKenna’s scheduling now allows for two-officer coverage from midnight until 4 a.m. Monday through Friday while RCS schools are in session, the SRO (Sgt. Dan Contento) reports for duty before the school buses drop off students; on this scheduling he is available to back up the patrol officer from 6:30 a.m. until 8 a.m., if needed. In order days off, monitoring hours worked, details filled, and shifts filled or vacated, Chief McKenna has been able to reduce the excess hours, non-essential shifts, redundancy of tasks, and trim the budget by more than $60,000 dollars from the scheduled amount in the budget. In addition, to this McKenna has succeeded in adding salary reimbursements to the positive bottom line, which has enhanced the Town of Coeymans budget by more than $10,000 at least. Compare those savings to Crandall’s ongoing spending sprees!
Chief McKenna has made his Department’s priority that of having patrol officers capable and available to meet the needs of the Coeymans community. McKenna’s guiding principle is: “If we can do that, and reduce the burden on the taxpayers by even a little bit, everybody wins.”
According to McKenna when asked about his feelings regarding Crandall’s grabbing the salary reimbursements engineered by McKenna and his deployment of Department personnel, McKenna thoughtfully responded:
“If I had any regrets about the windfall returned to the town coffers, it would be that I believe I am trying to maintain a professional department, without creating an undue financial burden on the people, yet still providing a safe and secure town and village. The previous chief had his own printer, which died shortly after I took over. I did not ask to replace it, as we have additional printers in the department I can utilize. I have not dipped into petty cash. Three of the patrol vehicles were purchased with seizure funds. My only regret is that I believe I am fiscally conservative. When I asked to outfit two vehicles purchased at the end of 2015 with lights and sirens, so as to reduce the stress on our fleet of cars, and allow for an extended life of the vehicles we have, it was denied, citing “financial stress”.”
[Editor’s Note: I am hard pressed to understand How? denying a department head access to funds saved through his management of his department during a fiscal year, can be justified on the basis of “financial stress”. Our question is this: Where is the budgeted money and the reimbursed money going, Mr Crandall? You’re the CFO (chief financial officer) of the town! And besides, how many assistants does a small town supervisor need? And an accountant at $100/hour. Come on, Crandall, do you think we’re as stupid as you look? I am even more hard pressed to understand Mr Crandall’s refusal to extend the life of Department equipment by minor investment in equipment for those vehicles. It is outrageous that Crandall and his bully cronies on the Coeymans Town Board take those savings realized by the Chief without the Chief’s input, and offset bloated payroll issues created by Crandall’s extravagance in hiring for his own office. Case in point: When the supervisor’s office went almost 9% over budget on payroll for 2 people — we’ll be reporting on this in the next article giving names and money amounts —, and one of them is salaried. The Town of Coeymans under Crandall and his cronies on the Coeymans Town Board has created a Human Resources department that has cost an additional $12,000 dollars — we’ll be reporting on this, too, giving names and money amounts—, and we have a Finance Officer working full time, earning nearly 50,000 dollars, while the accountant hired to check the work earns over 100 dollars per hour. We don’t understand how this can go unnoticed by the public and by the local media, especially when NYS law makes the town supervisor the chief financial officer (CFO) of the town! We believe that Chief McKenna has a firm grip and a professional understanding about budgeting the funds necessary to run his Department but it doesn’t appear that Supervisor Crandall or the town board has half the savvy of the Police Chief. Not when Mr Crandall goes on a hiring spree and then has to steal from the Coeymans Police Department to cover his abuses. But as will become clear in our next article, Crandall does not limit his abuse of public office to the Coeymans Police Department, his bully tactics extend to another professional employee’s department, too.
We’ll be asking to see the books to verify the time and payments to Linda Ziegler (part-time in Crandall’s office), Darryl Purinton @ $105/hr in Crandall’s office. Yes! You read that right, $105/hr. Nita Chmielewski (full-time in Crandall’s office) @ $24.54/hr. Cindy Rowzee (full-time in Crandall’s office) @ $16/hr. And to report to our readers about the overtime abuses by Crandall’s minions — he seems to have collected his own little henhouse, a veritable harem for himself. Does Mrs Crandall know?]
Both the young professionals and their veteran trainers are committed to performing to the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and integrity.
Coeymans has seen four of the officers McKenna hired move on to full – time employment elsewhere. After having received their training and mentoring from veteran professional law enforcement like McKenna and Contento, even from a matured Ryan Johnson, we would have liked to have seen these up–and–coming men and women stay and grow in the Law Enforcement field right here in Coeymans. The problem is really simple: Coeymans cannot compete with the salaries elsewhere, and with a town administration like Phil Crandall’s that slaps community – minded management and service in the face and that insists on shooting itself in the foot, those salaries and the benefits packages, as well as career advancement opportunities offered by larger departments will attract talented professionals away from Coeymans. It’s not a total loss, though, because from the time these young recruits come to serve on the Coeymans Police Department, the people of the Town of Coeymans receives the dedicated service of a group of young professionals, who are committed to a career in Police Work and law enforcement, who receive training and mentoring by highly qualified veteran law enforcement officers while they are here. Both the young professionals and their veteran trainers are committed to performing to the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and integrity. As an officer – in – training, these recruits need to give their utmost in order to become certified as law enforcement professionals. Chief Mckenna doesn’t take the vetting process for these candidates lightly, and believes the obvious fact that these officers trained in Coeymans are now coveted by larger departments; this should be interpreted as a reflection of how vigilant McKenna and his veterans are in their efforts to find the best people for the job.
One of the hallmarks of our Coeymans Police Department is the too-often misused term “community-policing”. For McKenna, that term means men and women, who interact with the public and don’t just drive past them, pull them over, or act as if a service call is an inconvenience. McKenna and his personnel acknowledge and appreciate who pays their salaries. They know that they are here because the people of this town want them here. Property checks, bicycle patrol, walking beats, ATV details, crossing guard details; all these things get us out into the public, among our friends, neighbors, employers, interacting, and having an opportunity to listen and tohear what the community wants and expects from their own law enforcement professionals. McKenna has vision and hope for the revitalization in the Town and Hamlet of Coeymans and Village of Ravena, and for the surrounding areas; nothing would give him greater joy than seeing storefronts filled with goods and service opportunities, instead of vacancy signs and deteriorating real estate everywhere you look.
McKenna, in keeping with his community contact policy, makes the effort to at least try to visit every business, with whom he and his Department interact, and McKenna looks to introduce himself to people in the community, so they know that they can actually call or stop in his office for any reason. McKenna’s present and available and he makes that fact known to the community. Of course, there are times and places that he misses the chance to follow-up with people in the community, but he does express the sincere hope that those who feel he didn’t respond or do enough will call him, or stop in again. [Editor’s Note: If anyone feels this is not the case, we at Smalbany would like your inputs and we’ll follow up, of course. Either leave a comment at the end of this article or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org] McKenna is one man literally fighting Town Hall so it’s not that he’s dissing anyone or that he doesn’t want to reach out to local businesses and business owners, the understandable fact is that he sometimes gets overrun, and misses the chance to finish what may have been started. Our suggestion to any business or business owner who would like to discuss any particular issue or who has the interest and time to foster a collaborative relationship with Chief McKenna and the Coeymans Police Department to call him, pay him a visit. You’ll find him the most generous and cordial man you’ll probably ever meet in Coeymans Town Hall. And we’d love to know about your impressions and experiences if you do that.
In conclusion, despite the abuses and the obstacles set by Crandall and his bullies, the Chief appears not to have any issues with the disrespect he receives from the mob upstairs, the ignorance he has to live with and lack of appreciation from Crandall, or the budget he has to work with. Judging from our observations, our conversations, and the facts we have gathered, we are confident — and we believe that Chief McKenna is as well — that if he and his Department is given the opportunity to provide input into hiring and purchasing, and the town government wakes up and stops hamstringing him in his efforts, he will continue provide a full measure of service to the Town of Coeymans and the Village of Ravena. If Crandall and his cronies continue to obstruct the Chief’s efforts by placing obstacles and roadblocks, and the Chief is stymied in efforts to professionally and conscientiously, and responsibly manage his Department and to move the Department forward in service of the community, the task of keeping the community safe and protected will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible.
At this point in time, the Chief foresees at least two young officers leaving the Coeymans Department in the coming months in order to accept full – time employment in larger departments. If the Chief is not given the latitude and resources necessary to adjust for these losses, the future may become a very difficult challenge for this community in terms of safety, response, and service.
We feel that Mr Crandall and the Coeymans town board should take a very critical look at their own egregious misconduct and their lack of concern for the integrity of Coeymans government. We, and we hope we are joined by our friends and neighbors in Coeymans, especially the business community in the Town of Coeymans, to demand that Chief McKenna be given a voice and an regular opportunity to share his vision, his plans, his challenges, and his solutions with the Coeymans community, and at every opportunity in town administration activities. We encourage Chief McKenna to insist on being on the agenda at Town of Coeymans working meetings and regular Town Board meetings, to present his regular reports, and that those reports be “on the record” and in the minutes for the public’s information. We further encourage the local and regional media to establish and nurture liaison with Chief McKenna and his Department, and that the media provide opportunity and space for the Chief’s regular reports.
In the meantime, we’d like to thank Coeymans Police Chief Peter McKenna for his fine service and dedication to this community in 2016, and to extend our sincerest best wishes to the Chief and his law enforcement professionals, and his officers – in – training for a safe and happy new year in the service of our community!!!
Editor’s Heads – Up! Stay tuned for another block – buster report on the Crandall mob’s misuse of office and their abuse of town employees. We mentioned some of the double – standard hiring practices and financial irresponsibility exhibited by Crandall in this article but be prepared for an even more shocking exposé in our follow – up article, which will expose Crandall, Youmans, and Dolan as bullies and harassers, and the rest of the town board as cowards with no balls. When Crandall and Youmans were elected, we published an article with the title “Return of the Scumbuckets! Coeymans Does It Again!” in Coeymans Town Hall. Our reports confirm that observation.