University Police Chief David Dugatkin has been placed on administrative leave.
Paul Larrabee, a representative of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) of New York State and the union which represents the officers in the department, confirmed that Dugatkin had been placed on administrative leave but had no further details about the circumstances surrounding it.
In a meeting on Monday, April 23 President Donald P. Christian declined to comment saying that the college does not comment on personnel matters.
According to The Daily Freeman, Dugatkin was appointed as chief in 2011 and was paid a salary of $99,143 in 2017. He was a 21-year veteran of the New Paltz Town Police Department.
Although it is unknown whether or not this is related to Dugatkin’s administrative leave, the PBA, a union representing 21 members of the SUNY New Paltz police department, called for an ouster of the chief in March of last year. They also employed a rolling billboard on the side of a box truck to be driven around campus reading: “Is SUNY New Paltz safe? Rapes increased by 50 percent from 2014-15. Led the nation in drug arrests. Drug arrests more than doubled from 2014-15. Dysfunctional department leadership. That’s a good question!”
In response to the truck, college spokesperson Melissa Kaczmarek said in an email: “While the PBA certainly has a right to express its opinion, they have misrepresented the facts. Our drug arrests actually have dropped 25 percent since 2013 and our reports of rape have been four-six a year for the past three years. It’s unfortunate that the PBA union chooses to use fear-mongering rather than dialogue in working with the college. Fear-mongering is not a way for the PBA membership, our university police officers, to build confidence in the people they serve, our employees and students.”
Kaczmarek cited statistics in a annual report to the federal government, which is available online at https://goo.gl/6TCbLi.
The report states that rapes on the New Paltz campus increased from four in 2015 to six in 2016.
On Nov. 16, 2017, The New Paltz Oracle reported that several New Paltz campus police officers were disciplined early last year after the state investigated complaints that the officers fell asleep on the job and falsified time sheets, according to a news report and investigative documents that were made public a week before the article was published.