Citizen Complaint — Greene County Sheriffs Department
September 29, 2008
Formal Complaint against Sherriff’s Department, Greene County, New York, and
Troop F – New York State Troopers
Re: Officer Stern, Sergeant Carlson and Troop F of the New York State Troopers
Approximately 8:45 PM on Saturday September 27, 2008, I received a phone call from an officer of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. I was asked, “Is this Peter Perez?” “Speaking, ” I replied. The officer then went on to accuse me of being at a particular residence the previous day. I explained that I had not been there, and before I could complete my sentence, the officer began a crazy and disrespectful tirade, insisting that I had been there. While he was ranting on and on, I kept trying to get a word in, requesting that he let me explain, asking that he please listen to me for a moment. “No, I’m not going to listen to you.” he said. “If you’re not going to man up to what you did . . ." He went on without stop, and he continued for over a minute, insulting me, being disrespectful and essentially calling me a liar.
When he finally stopped to take a breath, I quickly got in the words, “I think you’re talking about my son, not me.” Admittedly, I was pretty insulted by the unrelenting disrespectful tactics of this bully, this officer who wouldn’t shut up except to take a breath.
I asked him to identify himself. He cowardly said, “I’ve already identified myself, ” and would not give me his name. I said that I did not catch his name, and asked him to please identify himself again. I had to make this request two more times before he finally admitted that he was Officer Stern of the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. Stupidly, now being given the chance, he never asked if my son was here, the last time I saw him, where he lived or even if there was a phone number by which he could be reached.
I remarked to Officer Stern about his deliberate resistance to listen and his disrespectfulness. I’m a taxpayer, fifty-seven years old, served my country and was honorably discharged and I have never been arrested. I don’t expect to be spoken to this way by anybody. I was raised fifty years ago to respect one’s elders. Apparently this is not a requirement or even a consideration for employment in the Greene County Sheriff’s Department. I told Officer Stern that my son was not here and had not lived here for half a year and hung up.
I called the last number on my caller ID and asked to speak to the sergeant on duty. A person took my information and said that he would relay the call to the sergeant. I was surprised, thinking I was going to be transferred to the sergeant. Rather, I was informed that this was the dispatch office and the sergeant was not there. I asked for the name of the dispatcher and the sergeant and was told that the person I was speaking to was Dispatcher Nugent and the sergeant on duty was Sergeant Carlson. When asked, I told the dispatcher that my call was a formal complaint I wanted to make.
Several minutes later, the phone rang. It was Officer Stern again. First, he apologized for us getting off on the wrong foot, as if I had something to do with the misunderstanding and it had nothing to do with his refusal to simply shut up and listen.
Once more, given another opportunity, he never asked the last time I saw my son, where he lived or even if there was a phone number at which he could be reached. He simply threatened me for hindering a criminal investigation. I commented to Officer Stern about his people skills: first “apologizing” and then threatening. I told him that I had a call in to Sergeant Carlson.
Officer Stern then specifically told me that Sergeant Carlson was sitting right next to him. “Well, ” I told him, “why don’t you just hand the phone over to him?” Officer Stern then told me that the sergeant was not in a position to take my call now. Although I didn’t find out until later, Officer Stern was blatantly lying. Sergeant Carlson wasn’t even in the room or the building, he was in a mobile unit in Palenville and had no idea what was going on with his rogue officer.
Then Officer Stern told me that he and Carlson would both be coming over to my house. I took this as another threat and hung up.
I called the state police at Troop F, telling them that two men with guns were on the way over to my house. I explained the entire situation and told them I was in fear for my life. They said they would look into it. Kudos for the uselessness of Troop F, or F Troop as they are known locally. They never so much as called back.
Several minutes later, the phone rang again. Now it was Sergeant Carlson. He said he was responding to my call into dispatch. I explained what had been going on. Sergeant Carlson stated that he had been caught flat footed, that he had not spoken to Stern. He also stated that he had not been sitting next to Stern when Stern had called me. Rather, he told me that he had been in a mobile unit in Palenville at the time.
Sergeant Carlson seemed to think that this was a simple case of mistaken identity. I corrected his misconception by telling him that it was not. I informed Sergeant Carlson that this was a case of a rude and disrespectful officer deliberately unwilling or unable to shut his mouth for a moment and listen
Sergeant Carlson then attempted to use the excuse that this was a criminal investigation and that they would have to come over to my house to see if my son was there. I explained again that my son was not here and hadn’t lived here for over six months. As incredibly stupid as Officer Stern, Sergeant Carlson, being given the chance, never asked the last time I saw my son, where he lived or even if there was a phone number at which he could be reached.
Carlson then told me that this was the data they had for my son. I told Carlson that he had bad data. “Well, ” Carlson said, “then we’ll just have an arrest warrant issued and pick him up when we come across him.”
I summarized Sergeant Carlson’s technique for him: “You get a complaint from a man about one of your officers and your response is to threaten his son.” I told him that he was not to come to my home under any circumstances. If he did, I would be calling the state troopers again for protection.
Sergeant Carlson wanted me to tell him what I wanted done about my complaint. If the sergeant on duty has no clue what to do about one of his rogue officers that lies, threatens, bullies and refuses to shut his mouth and listen, I feel that it would be ridiculous for a mere citizen to try to educate him.
Sergeant Carlson needs to supervise his officers more closely, and he apparently needs to learn how to verify the data he uses on his job. He should also be counseled about making threats to people who make complaints about his officers.
The family that made the criminal mischief complaint about my son knew exactly where he lived and the phone number at which he could be reached. It was completely due to the incompetence and negligence of the sheriff’s department that they had not obtained accurate and reliable data from the complainant.
Officer Sterns should be fired. Immediately. He is a liar, a bully, a tyrant and he is out of control. Before he is fired, however, this formal complaint should be inserted into his permanent file so other municipalities that might want to hire him and give him a gun and a badge can consider what Stern’s idea of law enforcement is.
Unfortunately, this sort of despicable conduct is not limited to the Greene County Sheriff’s department. I’ve lived on Long Island, in New York City, North Carolina, Arkansas and Florida and spent a total of twenty-two years living in the Town of Catskill. I have never seen such incompetence, disrespect, corruptness, and plain nastiness except for my experience with the New York state Troopers of Troop F, (including the BCI), the Greene County Sheriff’s Department and the Village of Catskill police.
These agencies do not serve . . . they enslave. They have free reign to do as they wish: flaunt their power and abuse the innocent. I’ve seen the scars and bruises of the people they’ve arrested and physically abused once in handcuffs. I’ve personally received their undeserved contempt and disrespect. I’ve observed them getting their free meals, speeding on roads with no emergency, no siren, no flashing lights. It appears that the laws of this state apply only to those without a badge and I’m sick of it.
24 Jurassic Park Road
Catskill, NY 12414