Saratoga Springs police chief admits sexting

No formal action taken against Cole

Friday, June 10, 2011
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Police Chief Christopher Cole
Police Chief Christopher Cole

— City Police Chief Christopher Cole admitted in a statement Thursday that he sent sexually explicit text messages and photos on his personal cellphone to a 39-year-old Glenville woman with whom he has had a relationship.

Cole said one of the explicit photos was sent while he was in his chief’s office in Saratoga Springs City Hall. That photo was sent “while on my lunch break” and from behind closed doors in his office, he said.

“I realize now that this was an error in judgment,” Cole said in a statement to City Public Safety Commissioner Richard Wirth.

“The relationship I had with [the woman] was between two consenting adults and sometimes involved conversations and texting of a sexual nature and on a few occasions involved each of us texting sexually explicit photos to each other,” Cole said in the prepared statement.

Wirth said no action has been taken regarding Cole and he remains chief of the city’s 70-person police force.

Cole, 45, joined the city Police Department in 1990. He rose through the ranks and was named chief in 2009, replacing former Chief Edward Moore, who retired that year. He is paid $92,432 per year.

Wirth said he planned to meet with his administrative staff, human resources officials and the city attorney, among others, to discuss the issue.

“I have to review the facts very carefully,” Wirth said.

“I have received no formal complaint against [Cole],” Wirth said. He said Cole “came forward” himself with the information about his relationship with the woman.

woman started texts

Wirth said a television news reporter came to his office this week saying a woman who has had a relationship with Cole had gone to CBS 6 with information about the explicit photos and messages.

Cole said in his statement he has had an “intermittent personal relationship” with the unmarried woman since last July. Cole said he has been legally separated from his wife for the past 31⁄2 years.

Wirth said, “The girl went directly to Channel 6.”

In a segment aired on CBS 6 on Thursday, the woman said she and Cole met through a dating website. She admitted that she sent the first sexually explicit photo of her “upper half” to him.

The woman told the TV station she became concerned about the photos Cole allegedly had sent her after seeing stories about Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, who admitted sending explicit photos of himself via the Internet to a half dozen women in recent years.

The woman, who was not identified during the on-air television interview but was identified in Cole’s statement, said she became worried about the sexually explicit photos that Cole sent her, especially the one from his office. She said the photos included a “nude photograph of his private areas,” according to the television broadcast. She could not be reached by the Gazette for comment.

Wirth said Cole is an excellent police chief and has done an excellent job since taking that position. Cole had been assistant chief prior to being named chief.

“He just made a mistake,” Wirth said. “It’s a shame.”

Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said Thursday that Cole is a “long standing city employee in good standing.” He said he first heard of the cellphone issue on Thursday and deferred any comments about the incident “until things are fully determined.”

“He deserves as much,” Johnson said. The mayor said Cole has provided good service to the city for many years as a police officer, assistant chief and now chief.

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June 10, 2011
8:07 a.m.
nino187h says...

so what this is not news private phone on break there is no error in judgment here

June 10, 2011
8:13 a.m.
dwatrous says...

This is a complete non-story and a complete hatchet job on someone who (as far as I can tell from this article) has done nothing wrong. I'm embarrassed to be a paying member of a paper that would print such an article.

June 10, 2011
9:54 a.m.
KD says...

If you're the police chief - I think you should be held to a higher standard than the average "Joe or Josephine". And more importantly, always avoid the appearance of impropriety. Sending sexually explicit text messages and photos of yourself via text or the web is not only dumb but inappropriate for the police chief. It makes me worry about his decision making skills.

June 10, 2011
12:02 p.m.
dlittlecook says...

He is not a priest. He did nothing illegal, a little immoral maybe but we are all human. I assume he is not married and the woman who he sent these to started the whole thing. I agree, this is a non-story. Move on, nothing to see here.

June 10, 2011
12:07 p.m.
nygirl61 says...

Another totally unnecessary tabloid story from the Gazette!

June 10, 2011
12:13 p.m.
wmarincic says...

She is 39..., He is not married. I guess this is a non story....

June 10, 2011
12:51 p.m.
hodgkinst says...

When will all those love letters written home by our troops make the front page. Will they be forced to make public apologies for expressions of desire and love? Where does this intrusion into the private lives of public servants stop? Why does the woman not get arrested for harassment?

June 10, 2011
1:07 p.m.
barwhite269 says...

Higher standard as a Chief these days? In many cases that a joke! Saratoga is lucky to have a chief that actually show up for work regularly. Try to go find Jim Hamilton at the Rotterdam station sometime during the week. Most times bet you won't find him there. Arrogant power.

June 10, 2011
5:15 p.m.
nino187h says...

So a higher standard...if your a police chief you cant spice up a consensual adult relationship between two unmarried people... this is not news and the women who saw the weiner story then alerted the media about this is a fool. She saw an opportunity for herself after a failed relationship and the media was dumb enough to let her run with it.

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