Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney is investigating allegations that Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison — who is set to resign this month — changed vacation days to sick days on previously filed timesheets.
This comes after Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) sent out a news release claiming Harrison had done so after announcing his resignation.
“This is a deeply troubling situation,” Trotta said in a news release. “While the Commissioner should be setting the standard for officers to follow, instead it appears that he has become a party to the culture of corruption that has plagued the hierarchy of the department in recent years by choosing to falsify business records for personal gain.”
Trotta is a former Suffolk County police detective, and has been outspoken against police corruption throughout his time in the legislature. He claimed Harrison took vacation days to watch his daughter play basketball, and later changed them to sick days.
“I got his duty chart, which is FOIL-able,” Trotta told the Press. “And I see that division one basketball for Wake Forest University and I see that, in January and February and during February on the weekends, he’s got sick days, that coincide with Wake Forest basketball games, and I said ‘I know this guy’s not stupid enough to take sick days to go see his daughter play basketball.’ But I did the research and I find out that those days used to be vacation days, and then we switch them to sick days. From what I’m hearing, he thought you get to cash in your sick days, but you don’t — you forfeit them, you only cash out your vacation days. This is falsifying business records.”
Harrison has denied Trotta’s allegations, and said he did this after consulting with the county attorney.
“I have dedicated my career to law enforcement, not politics,” Harrison said. “These wild and baseless allegations by a politician will not undermine or diminish the crucial work we have completed over the last two years.”
Tierney’s office confirmed to the Press they were looking into Trotta’s claims.
“We take allegations of this type seriously,” Tierney said. “We will confer with the chief of department.”
“Without providing any advance notice to the prosecutors pursuing this case in court or the Gilgo Beach Homicide Task Force members investigating these murders day in and day out, we watched today’s press conference not knowing what was going to be reported,” Tierney said after the press conference, appearing to slam Harrison and Ray. “We will continue to investigate this case through the Grand Jury process and not through press conferences. No private attorneys are or have ever been members or agents of the Task Force.”
Harrison announced his resignation in early November, claiming he did so to give the new County Executive – who turned out to be Ed Romaine – the chance to appoint their own commissioner. It’s expected to take effect some time this month.
County Executive Steve Bellone, who appointed Harrison, defended him, telling News 12, “”Just months after admitting that he was secretly recording private conversations with the police commissioner, Trotta is back making more outrageous accusations about one of the most highly respected law enforcement officers in our state and nation.”