Several UPD Officers Walk Off The Job And Call In Sick In Protest
In the wake of the most recent disciplinary actions taken against a 19-year veteran of the Utica Police Department, several officers walked off the job and others called in sick.
The apparent protests stemmed from the suspension of Sergeant Samuel Geddes following an incident between he and a resident. During an incident on August 23rd on Blandina Street, Geddes allegedly made inappropriate comments to two teens and dispensed pepper spray.
Upon the city announcement of the incident and the call from the Mayor's office for Geddes' firing, several members of the Utica Police Department decided to take action. A statement from the Mayor's office acknowledged and confirmed the walk-off and call outs by officers. The statement read,
It is disappointing that some members of the Utica Police Department violated their oath to protect and serve our community. Regardless of one’s opinions on a respective personnel issue, it is unacceptable to potentially endanger the safety of our residents, and the fellow members of the Police Department who chose to remain and honor their commitment. Our community demands better. Discipline will be forthcoming for Utica Police personnel who engaged in these actions, as it will not be tolerated.
As a result of the actions taken by Utica Police members, the Oneida County Sheriff's Office was on standby to assist if necessary. A UPD official confirmed that no Sheriff's deputy was needed on a call in the city on their own.
As of Saturday morning Utica Police officials announced that their department was back to full staffing of its sworn members. A release from UPD officials read, "The Utica Police Department continues to extend its thanks and appreciation to Sheriff Maciol and the men and women of the OCSO for partnering with our members to ensure that there was no loss of police coverage and that Utica Public Safety was never at risk."
When it comes to Sgt. Samuel Geddes, the Mayor has called for his termination under the collective bargaining agreement. Palmieri said in a statement while the woman’s remarks during the altercation were egregious and derogatory, the UPD does not tolerate or condone Geddes’ language or conduct.