BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
As has been reported by the Rockland County Times, FIOS, Rockland Voice and finally for the first time this week The Journal News, many corrections officers [COs] who opposed the reelection of Sheriff Louis Falco in 2015, have subsequently found themselves forced out of their jobs. Over a half dozen have been arrested on felony charges for on-the-job alleged infractions such as supposedly improper logbook practices while supervising inmates.
The COs who have faced these charges each said their behavior was routine and at worst should have been subject to a note from a supervisor. Yet, every officer with the exception of Jacque Millien, who was charged with a felony chose to settle the case, resigning in return for their felony charges being dismissed. The one man with the courage to stand alone, Millien, is fighting his criminal case and has spearheaded a series of lawsuits against Falco.
Millien told the Rockland County Times, “Long before the Head of the Rockland County Strategic Intelligence Unit, Stephen Cole-Hatchard, wrote that Sheriff Falco was the ‘worst thing ever to happen to Rockland County,’ he was slapping felony charges on correction officers who didn’t support his re-election in November 2015. The logbook entry practices that I followed are the same as have been going on in Falco’s jail system from the day he was first elected, and he knows it.”
Noted civil rights attorney Michael Sussman has taken the civil case on behalf of Millien and others. The cause is gaining some momentum.
For one, a Falco-supporting officer seen on the same video as Millien seemingly committing worse “infractions” had originally gone unpunished. After Millien mentioned this as evidence that Falco singled him out for retribution, the pro-Faclo officer was also suspended.
Supporters of the several COs suing Falco have seized on Falco’s appointment of Stephen Heubeck to the position of director of the Police Academy. Despite Heubeck boasting a distinguished career with the FBI, he is now dealing with his own questions over whether he filed false instruments with the state.
County legislators began asking Falco about this controversy on Tuesday, February 28, but the matter was tabled. The COs wish to know why they have been charged with felonies for logbook practices, while Falco has no issue with Heubeck’s case?
This story promises to only get more interesting. Stay tuned.