Arbitrator gives lesser punishment to officer involved First Street incident

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A second Albany Police officer fired after a 2019 First Street altercation will be able to get his job back following a ruling by an arbitrator.

Despite Chief Eric Hawkins standing by his decision to fire officers involved in the use of force incident, an independent arbiter has ruled in favor of Officer Adam Iannacito.

“I’m disappointed. I still feel that my recommendation for termination in that case and the other two cases were justified,” Hawkins said.  

The arbitrator said there was a “serious disparity between the department’s policies and its practices. It is the administration’s responsibility to acknowledge and fix that problem.” 

The arbitrator reduced Iannacito’s penalty to a written warning.  

“This happened very shortly into my tenure as police chief. I recognized there were problems and we have not had anything close to this happen since,” Hawkins said.  

A second officer was exonerated in another arbitration and a third officer resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. The chief said he’s added defensive tactic trainings and overhauled his office of personal standards right after the incident.  

“We’re going to have a better police department, and they’re one of the best, but they’ll have rules and regulations that are very clear,” said police training consultant John Cooney.  

Cooney said the ruling is a win for all involved.  

“Whether it’s positive or negative for the police officers or the administration shouldn’t be the issue here. Will it make Albany P.D. a better department, absolutely,” Cooney said.

If Iannacito returns to the department, Hawkins said he will know the chief’s expectations.  

“This is not reflective of the men and women of this department. We have to acknowledge the officers that are out there doing the right things for the right reasons,” Hawkins said. 

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