By Michael Hill
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York state trooper ought to have been disciplined for getting romantically concerned with then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s grownup daughter whereas serving on the Democrat’s safety element, the state inspector normal stated in a report.
The watchdog report launched Friday comes two years after the connection — and the trooper’s obvious banishment to a submit close to the Canadian border — grew to become the topic of newspaper headlines.
There was public hypothesis on the time that Cuomo had personally ordered the trooper transferred to a submit about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of the governor’s mansion as a result of he was upset in regards to the relationship.
The report by Inspector Basic Lucy Lang doesn’t handle whether or not the governor requested the trooper’s switch. Cuomo spokesman Wealthy Azzopardi stated Friday that he had no position in it.
The report additionally doesn’t say which of Cuomo’s three daughters was concerned.
A prime aide to Cuomo instructed the commander of the governor’s safety element in regards to the relationship on Might 22, 2020, the day after the governor discovered from his daughter, in keeping with the inspector normal’s report.
Phrase of the connection was then handed as much as Kevin Bruen, who’s now the superintendent of the state police however on the time was the primary deputy. Bruen instructed a colleague on the time that the governor was “very upset.”
The trooper who was concerned with Cuomo’s daughter, Dane Pfeiffer, instructed state police that the connection started about two months earlier and that he by no means bodily interacted together with her whereas on responsibility. He described his actions as “skilled.” However Bruen thought Pfeiffer was “compromised.”
“You’ll be able to’t be on this place and have that type of a relationship with one of many protectees,” Bruen instructed the inspector normal’s investigators. “You could be … at a specific project, and if there’s a fireplace in the home, you run to your loved one. Proper. However that’s not your job.”
Bruen declined to formally self-discipline Pfeiffer for a consensual relationship however needed him faraway from the protecting companies unit. Pfeiffer quickly afterward requested a switch to a troop in northernmost New York. Pfeiffer instructed inspector normal investigators he did not truly wish to go however was “voluntold” to alter assignments.
“On paper I volunteered, however no, I don’t wish to go up there, by no means wish to go there once more,” Pfeiffer testified.
Pfeiffer was promoted to sergeant in November and had reportedly been posted to New York Metropolis.
The inspector normal’s report doesn’t conclude Cuomo did something unsuitable however faulted state police for not following their very own procedures after discovering out in regards to the relationship.
The inspector normal concluded that Pfeiffer ought to have been disciplined. The report notes that rules require officers to chorus from actions that would “intervene with the correct, neutral, and efficient efficiency of official duties.”
In distinction, the report famous that Bruen determined to self-discipline Pfeiffer’s supervisor for failing to inform superiors upon studying in regards to the relationship. The supervisor, a sergeant, selected to retire.
The troopers’ union, the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Affiliation, stated it was “shocked and appalled” by the conclusion that the trooper ought to have been disciplined.
The union stated he had engaged in “off-duty conduct that was private in nature and had nothing to do along with his duties or obligations.”
State police stated in an emailed assertion the protecting companies unit was overhauled final yr “and we’re already working with the Inspector Basic to make sure the suggestions within the report are applied.”
Cuomo resigned a yr in the past in a sexual harassment scandal.