Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

NYS Prison Chief Glenn Goord Mixes Drinking, Driving & Talking On A Cell Phone.

This is part three of a random, wide ranging series on Crime and Punishment in New York State.

It happened on May 3, but only made it into the news yesterday. New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) Commissioner, Glenn Goord, was stopped by a police officer in Lake Placid for talking on his cell phone while driving. Goord was not issued a ticket. According to the Times-Union story, Goord is a peace officer and therefore entitled to use a cell phone while driving, even if it is not a hands-free one. Goord also admitted to having had a couple glasses of wine prior to hitting the road.

According to the T-U article, Commissioner Goord revealed the incident in an interview. Here are some questions that Upstream would have asked if we had been given a chance to interview Mr. Goord.

1. Peace officers are allowed to use cell phones while driving, but only for the purpose of carrying out their duties (see below). Were you using your cell phone for official business when you were pulled over?

2. Did the police officer ask you if you were on official business?

3. Did he check the list of recent calls on your cell phone to ascertain if you were indeed on official business?

4. Would you mind giving us the telephone number of the person you were conversing with at the time?

5. A recent report indicated that the vast majority of accidents in New York State are caused by driver distraction, including the use of cell phones? Wouldn’t it be better if you pulled over to talk or at least used a hands-free device? And wouldn’t that be setting a better example for the people who work for you and for the public?

6. According to the New York State Criminal Procedure Code, DOCS officials can become peace officers only by the appointment of the Commissioner of DOCS (see below). Does that mean that you appointed yourself a peace officer?

7. Have you taken the appropriate training required of all peace officers by the New York State Criminal Procedure Code (see below)?

8. Have you taken the additional training that the Code requires for a peace officer to remain a peace officer?

9. You admitted to having a couple drinks before going on the road. Knowing that three 5 oz. glasses of wine consumed in one hour by a 200 pound male results in a .04 bac and causes driving impairment, do you think it was wise to be drinking before going out on the road?

10. Is there some reason you weren’t required to take a breathalyzer test?

11. The Employees’ Manual for The State of New York Department of Correctional Services states “An employee of the Department shall not consume or possess alcoholic beverages while on duty status nor shall any employee report for duty under the influence of intoxicants.” You were in Lake Placid for a labor-management conference when you were pulled over. According to your account, you were using your cell phone for official business. Weren’t you therefore in violation of your own department’s policies concerning the use of alcoholic beverages?

12. How have you disciplined other employees of the department who have consumed alcohol while on the job?

New York State Law Exempting Peace Officers From Cell Phone Laws
3. Subdivision two of this section shall not apply to (a) the use of a mobile telephone for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency response operator; a hospital, physician's office or health clinic; an ambulance company or corps; a fire department, district or company; or a police department, (b) any of the following persons while in the performance of their official duties: a police officer or peace officer; a member of a fire department, district or company; or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle as defined in section one hundred one of this chapter, or (c) the use of a hands-free mobile telephone.

NY State Criminal Procedure Law
§ 2.10 Persons designated as peace officers. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general, special or local law or charter to the contrary, only the following persons shall have the powers of, and shall be peace officers:

25. Officials, as designated by the commissioner of the department of correctional services pursuant to rules of the department, and correction officers of any state correctional facility or of any penal correctional institution.

§ 2.30 Training requirements for peace officers. 1. Every peace officer in the state of New York, appointed after the effective date of this article, who works a full complement of hours which constitutes full-time employment for the officer's employer, must successfully complete a training program, a portion of which shall be prescribed by the municipal police training council and by his employer, the state or local agency, unit of local government, state or local commission, or public authority or private organization that employs him. The portion prescribed by the municipal police training council shall be comprised of subjects, and the hours each is to be taught, that shall be required of all types or classes of peace officers. The hours of instruction required by the municipal police training council shall not exceed thirty-five, unless a greater amount is either required by law or regulation, or is requested by the employer. The segment prescribed by the employer for his employees shall be comprised of subjects, and the hours each is to be taught, relating to the special nature of the duties of the peace officers employed by him. Each state or local agency, unit of local government, state or local commission, or public authority, or public or private organization which employs peace officers shall provide the training mandated by this section, and transmit to the municipal police training council within six months after the effective date of this article the proposed training program for peace officers, comprised of subjects required by the employer, the cost of which will be borne by the employer. The program shall: (a) List the subjects comprising the proposed curriculum and the number of hours each is to be taught; (b) List the proposed instructors for each subject with their qualifications; and (c) Indicate the proposed location of the school. In the reviewing of the employer's submission, the instructors must be found qualified by background and experience, and if so found, the course shall be certified by the municipal police training council. When the subjects prescribed by the employer are identical to the subjects in the training program required by the municipal police training council, the officer shall not be required to take duplicate training for those subjects. It is the responsibility of every employer to provide the training program certified by the municipal police training council. Each peace officer satisfactorily completing the course shall be awarded a certificate by the division of criminal justice services attesting to that effect, and no person appointed as a peace officer after the effective date of this article shall exercise the powers of a peace officer, unless he has received such certification within twelve months of appointment. Where an employer has authorized a peace officer to carry or use a weapon during any phase of the officer's official duties, which constitutes on-duty employment, the program shall include the same number of hours of instruction in deadly physical force and the use of firearms and other weapons as is required in the basic training program for police officers by the municipal police training council. The program shall include the information set forth in subdivision seven of section 265.10 of the penal law. No employer shall allow any peace officer, notwithstanding when the officer was appointed, to carry or use a weapon during any phase of the officer's official duties, which constitutes on-duty employment, unless the officer has satisfactorily completed a course of training approved by the municipal police training council in the use of deadly physical force and firearms and other weapons, and annually receives instruction in deadly physical force and the use of firearms and other weapons as approved by the municipal
police training council. The course of training in the use of deadly physical force and firearms and other weapons shall be provided by the officer's employer, not later than six months from the date on which the officer was appointed, where the officer is authorized to carry a weapon pursuant to law. 2. Upon the failure or refusal to comply with the requirements of subdivision one of this section, the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services shall apply to the supreme court for an order directed to the person responsible requiring compliance. Upon such application, the court may issue such order as may be just, and a failure to comply with the order of the court shall be a contempt of court and punishable as such. 3. Any individual who is a peace officer or a New York city special patrolman on the effective date of this article and has previously taken a formalized course of training while a peace officer or a New York city special patrolman, may apply, in writing, to the municipal police training council for certification. The application shall be granted or denied for reasons specifically and concisely stated in writing, and if granted, the exact extent of any waiver of the training then presently required for new appointees shall be set forth. The certification shall be granted only if the municipal police training council determines that the course of training previously taken by the applicant is in substantial compliance with the training then presently required for new appointees. When an application is denied, it is the responsibility of the officer to obtain the training that is required in order to obtain certification. When a peace officer meets the training requirements specified herein, the division of criminal justice services shall issue that person a certificate attesting to the fact that he has satisfactorily completed the required training. 4. Any peace officer appointed after the effective date of this article who normally works on a part-time basis for less than the full complement of hours which would constitute full-time employment for their position as determined by their employer, shall receive training which may, in whole or in part, be in-service training. The portion of the training program required by the municipal police training council shall not exceed ten hours of instruction. The segment of the training program prescribed by the employer shall be comprised of subjects, and the hours each is to be taught, relating to the special nature of the duties of the peace officers employed by him. Every employer who employs part-time peace officers shall transmit to the municipal police training council within six months after the effective date of this article the proposed training program for its officers, in accordance with the procedure and requirements set forth in subdivision one of this section. Each peace officer satisfactorily completing the training requirements shall be issued a certificate by the division of criminal justice services attesting to that effect. 5. Every employer of peace officers shall annually report to the municipal police training council, in such form and at such time as the council may by regulation require, the names and addresses of all peace officers who have, during the course of the year, satisfactorily completed any of the training requirements prescribed by this section. 6. A certificate attesting to satisfactory completion of the training requirements imposed under this section awarded to any peace officer by the executive director of the municipal police training council pursuant to this section shall remain valid: (a) during the holder's continuous service as a peace officer; and
(b) for two years after the date of the commencement of an interruption in such service where the holder had, immediately prior to such interruption, served as a peace officer for less than two consecutive years; or (c) for four years after the date of the commencement of an interruption in such service where the holder had, immediately prior to such interruption, served as a peace officer for two consecutive years or longer. As used in this subdivision, the term "interruption" shall mean a period of separation from employment as a peace officer by reason of such officer's leave of absence, resignation or removal, other than removal for cause.

5 Comments:

  • If I know Glenn Goord, you'd get about half way through your first question.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:19 AM  

  • Meaning what?

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 8:27 AM  

  • Before he hung up, walked away, or had you tossed out of his office. He makes the rest of the Pataki administration look open and talkative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:30 AM  

  • I applaud you Dan Weaver! What a great write up on the incident of Commissioner Goord getting pulled over. You hit the nail right on the head. You are not afraid to write about REAL issues and dig down to the facts. This is why I read your blog daily. It goes back to your article a few weeks back to your OTB story. You should follow up on that story, as well. Not all Department of Corrections people are boozers, but there is the group of the good old boys that get a way with it. They are so bold they wear their ID tags in public.

    By the way, can you FOIL Goord's cell phone records?

    Spitzer will clean up DOCS, but it will not be for awhile yet. Gee-kind of like the delayed reporting of this incident.
    Signed, Sober on and off the job

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:32 AM  

  • Thanks for the comments from both anonymouses. Hopefully, tomorrow I will post about DOCS officials taking long lunches at OTB on Central Avenue in Colonie, complete with photos. Tentative title is Whose Ox Gets Goord?

    As far as a FOIL is concerned, I barely have time to keep up with this blog. Also even if someone could get a list of Goord's cellular phone calls from May 3, a lot of leg work would have to be done to figure out which phone number he was connected to when the police officer pulled him over. The cop did not make a record of the stop.

    It does seem like a job for some local reporter, however. With the backing of a newspaper or television station, they should be able to find out something.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 12:42 PM  

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