Schenectady cops party on with strippers

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Text Size: A | A

In recent years, every time a new group of recruits was sworn in, we’ve heard about how the Schenectady Police Department has turned the corner and these new officers are a different breed from the trouble-prone older ones. And just in case, they’d get a stern “You represent the department, we have high expectations and won’t tolerate any misbehavior” warning from the mayor.

Judging by the Christmas party at a local bar where a platoon of mostly young officers drank and watched strippers (and perhaps more than that), the corner is more like a circle and the new officers are not that different from the old ones after all.

The department says it’s conducting an investigation and Chief Mark Chaires, in one of his last official acts before retiring at the end of the year, is expected to issue a report this week. The report doesn’t have to be made public, but should be — at least as much of it as possible. Schenectady residents should know exactly what went on there and whether platoon leaders approved the party, as appears to be the case.

And, although state law prohibits the public disclosure of an officer’s disciplinary records, that doesn’t mean the department can’t reveal more broadly what disciplinary actions were taken, if any. This assumes no physical contact went on at the party, such as officers groping or engaging in sex acts with strippers. If any did that, it could constitute a crime, and the name of those charged could be released.

Drinking is, of course, a legal activity, and seldom a problem when done in moderation, especially at home. But Schenectady cops have a long history of drinking at bars, not always moderately, and getting in trouble there or afterward. Adding strippers to the equation is also not illegal, but dangerous and stupid. (One wonders if this kind of thing would have happened if the almost totally male department had more female officers.)

Booze, which breaks down inhibitions, and sexual tension are a volatile mix. That is why instructors at the Zone 5 Law Enforcement Academy in Schenectady, which trains officers for the region’s police departments, harp on the importance of drinking in safe places and avoiding such situations.

And why city and police leaders shouldn’t tolerate this type of behavior. Even if everything was legal, these officers acted badly and brought discredit on themselves and the department. There need to be consequences for that.

Share story: print print email email facebook facebook reddit reddit


December 27, 2012
12:57 a.m.
mezz3131 says...

Is it "off-duty" that people are confused with? Or maybe "no illegal activity" that people can't understand. To the best of my knowledge the city of schenectady doesn't own these guys (and/or girls). People do not have a right to know what happens after these men and women take their uniforms off. Plus , as far as we know this was not a police sactioned event, the city paid for none of this. This is co-workers having a good legal time together, nothing more. It's time for the folks at the gazette and some of its readers to get a hobby and stop worrying about what the police are doing when they are not working.

December 27, 2012
8:52 a.m.
gina99 says...

The entire culture that permits this behavior has to change. The fact that new recruits are doing this is shocking on many levels. First excellent editorial in a long time from the Gazette who needs to be more watchful of City doings.

December 27, 2012
9:35 a.m.
tonijean613 says...

mez3131- you clearly have no sense of the seriousness of this and that the the "caliber" and "quality" of our police force- directly translates into the "quality of life" of our community. If you dont see that property tax payers are the employers of these police officers (who are highly paid I may add) then you need to go back to high school for a civics education. or, perhaps you are not a Schdy home owner who has cringed at the property tax bill when it arrives bec you are like the clowns who coordinated such a distasteful and mysogonistic event regardless of legality, either way- you and your attitude are part of the problem accepting such low standards for police who are role models and need to be trusted by the community they serve. You are contributing to the "dumbing down" of our community, and you are letting us all know you are also a mysoginist, with little respect for women. Don't you have a mother, sister, daughter that you care about? This activity leads to physical abuse of women.

December 27, 2012
10:22 a.m.
FrankLowe says...

As a radical civil libertarian, I don't often side with the police, however in this case, Mezz3131 is absolutely right. They were off duty, and last time I checked, strippers and alcohol are not illegal. While cops should be held to a higher standard with certain activies, this isn't one of them. No harm was done.
If off duty cops can't participate in legal activities like exotic dancers, and drinking alcohol, what's next? Is that idiot Bloomberg going to crawl out out of his cesspool (NYC) and tell them they can't drink 32 ounce soft drinks?

December 27, 2012
10:28 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Actually tonijean and Gina99 I would bet that maybe your father or husband or girlfriend or even you have had strippers at a bachelor party or maybe you went and saw the movie Magic Mike or you are reading the 50 Shades books. Who are you to judge what private citizens do on 'THEIR OWN TIME'. Just because they hold the job as a police officer does not mean that they have to live their private life by you're standards. Also this is a legally regulated business that sends their own security people to make sure it stays within the legal bounds of the "show". This is more Gazette anti police garbage that they continue to print. Maybe I should open an anonymous facebook page and print some of the stories that I have heard about Gazette employees. Believe me, I have enough to fill a book.

December 27, 2012
10:37 a.m.
justapto says...

All this boils down to is a lack of common sense. All public employees shoud realize that there are cameras and reporters, (and the eyes and ears that they rely on), every where today. The new reporting game is that union and public employee bashing is vogue.
Perhaps the cops should hae reserved a party spot that is private and secure. This is not a big deal.
Drinking and driving is. That is why there should always be designated drivers or overnight accomidations.

December 27, 2012
10:51 a.m.
wmarincic says...
(This comment was removed by the site staff.)
December 27, 2012
11:47 a.m.
wmarincic says...

I would ask that Judy Patrick review what you just deleted. I said nothing wrong. If you can criticize the police and be judge, jury and executioner with absolutely "no facts" I have a right to criticize this editorial as I know the facts of that night.

December 27, 2012
11:15 p.m.
bluelinecop says...

It amazes me how far the leaders of the gazette will allow writers to go to sell a paper. Not very long ago when a troubled young man walked into the lobby of the Daily Gazette armed with a deadly knife and in a state of mind where he obviously wanted to do harm, you same people called 911 frantically asking for help. Very soon after, these same young men from SPD who your bashing, showed up and placed themselves in harms way to protect gazette employees. Thanks to the professionalism and bravery of those officers noone was injured except the suspect. What were your feelings towards the officers that day? Or that night when you went home and hugged your kids or spouse while the officers where trying to explain to theirs why they had to shoot someone? They have a very difficult job and do it well, stop bashing them!

December 28, 2012
12:13 a.m.
Fritzdawg says...

Were the strippers male, or female?

December 28, 2012
2:08 a.m.
clifford says...

Wow... Guys like to look at breasts, I had no idea! Slow news day in Schenectady? Good lord. We are scraping the barrel for "news". This paper is a joke. Pander to the cop haters... Is this 1950? Are we all of a sudden Puritans? "Oh no, those men are objectifying women! We have to report it!" Nevermind that the money those men spent ON THEIR OWN TIME put food on teh table for the dancers, or put presents under the tree. Kathleen Moore is the first to bash the cops for watching strippers but I bet she'd be the first to stand up for the stripper's right to make a living. Hypocrite much?

December 28, 2012
3:28 p.m.
kopacham says...

If I were asked to be on a jury in Schenectady county with the knowledge that Schenectady police were going to testify, I would be hard pressed to find someone guilty knowing the past performance of the department does not follow proper protocol implying any testimony they provide may be tainted.

December 28, 2012
5:56 p.m.
wmarincic says...

kopacham, that is probably one of the most ignorant things I have heard on this site.

Log-in to post a comment.

columnists & blogs

Log into

Forgot Password?