BARKER — An officer's employment with Barker Police Department was terminated on March 26 over the officer not following village policy, and BPD operations have been temporarily suspended, Mayor Aaron Nellist confirmed on Tuesday.
“We recently made the decision to terminate one of our officers regarding a failure to follow village policies and procedures,” Nellist told the Union-Sun & Journal on Tuesday. “This was not a policing related matter, as it pertained to administrative activities.”
While declining to elaborate on the alleged violation, Nellist went on to say, in a written statement, that with the discovery of the violation, he felt it was necessary to call a halt to BPD's policing activities pending an investigation. The suspension applies to Police Chief Timothy P. Braughler Sr. as well as officers under his command.
Nellist said he would take similar action with any department where policy was found to be ignored.
“The Village believes this to be a singular event, however, as with any breach of Village policy we are conducting an internal review, which we hope to complete as soon as possible with no significant interruption in service,” he said in the statement, which was sent after a US&J reporter called him to ask about an officer's rumored firing.
According to Nellist, the review could be done in a few days, but the findings have to be presented to the village board and BPD operations will remain suspended until that time. In the interim, New York State Police and the Niagara County Sheriff's Department will continue policing the area.
“No further comment will be given until this review is completed and presented to the Board for approval,” Nellist's statement said.