CATSKILL, N.Y. – The Chief of the Town of Cairo Police Department was arrested and faces several charges after authorities say he improperly handled evidence and falsely reported information to the State Police. He has been suspended without pay following the allegations.
On Thursday, State Police arrested 48-year-old Christopher Sprague, of Acra. Sprague is charged with the felonies of Tampering with Public Records in the first degree and Tampering with Physical Evidence, as well as the misdemeanors of Tampering with a Witness and Falsely Reporting an Incident.
According to authorities, charges are the result of Sprague's improper handling of evidence and falsely reporting information to the State Police about an incident that happened on Wednesday.
"We got the information of this case from the chief himself when he contacted us regarding something that occurred on Wednesday. We initiated the investigation at that point," police say.
"I've known Chris for many, many years. I've always liked him. I've always got along very well with him and I'm very surprised that this occurred," said Ray Suttmeier, Cairo Town board member.
As board members and the town supervisor gathered for an emergency meeting, it wasn't easy to take action, but they knew it had to be done.
"He's done a good job for us and I'm really sad and I feel bad for him," said Suttmeier.
The town suspended Sprague from his job as police chief without pay.
Sprague also works as a full time officer for the Catskill Police Department, and he's been put on administrative leave there with pay, although state police say the charges stem from what happened in Cairo.
"I have no indication that he's done anything wrong in the village of Catskill. No indication whatsoever. He comes here he works full time here. He does his job," said David Darling, Chief of Catskill PD.
Sprague has also been suspended without pay from his job as Cairo animal control officer.
Richard Bush will now take over the Cairo Police Department as Sgt. in Charge. Sprague is due back in court on April 2nd.