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Potsdam tables police officer hire

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POTSDAM - The village board is holding off on hiring a new officer for the Potsdam Police Department.

The board unanimously voted to table the hiring at a special Wednesday morning meeting. Officials plan to revisit the hire at their June 18 meeting.

Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis said the tabling was related to recent controversy surrounding the department. He received a complaint Friday from Potsdam resident Gerald Jenks Jr. about a hit-and-run property damage accident Sgt. Michael Ames was involved in on Halloween night 2010.

Mr. Ames, who was off duty that night, was leaving a party he had attended at Mr. Jenks’s home when he backed into another car and drove away without reporting it, Mr. Yurgartis said. Mr. Ames acknowledged the accident in a police report filed this spring, nearly a year and a half later.

Mr. Yurgartis has called for an independent investigation into why the department handled the accident internally without contacting him or administrator David Fenton.That situation needs to become clearer before the board decides to hire another officer, Mr. Yurgartis said.

“We ought to take a short hiatus and try to resolve the current situation,” he said.

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