Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Local Police Gone Wild: Shots Fired in Lake George


If the Bolton Police Department debacle wasn’t enough – now we have news of a “veteran” Warren County Sheriff Deputy who whips his gun out for a little wild west action:

Officer Jeffrey Clarke committed a “blatant and gross violation” of department policy by firing his department-issue handgun at the fleeing car, Sheriff Larry Cleveland said. Cleveland said the department may seek his termination over the incident.

He hit a tire with one of the shots but still was not justified in firing at the vehicle because he was not in danger at the time, the sheriff said.

“Our policies specifically prohibit the discharging of a firearm at a vehicle,” the sheriff said.

Clarke fired his .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun during a chase that began on the Northway shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday.

The pursuit began when sheriff’s officers and State Police tried to stop a vehicle for speeding. They later learned the vehicle had been taken without permission from the parking lot of a Lake George motel.

The driver of the car led them through Diamond Point and along Route 9 before turning onto Finkle Farm Road, a dead end.

When the fleeing car got to the end of the road, it stopped. Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Breen approached the vehicle on foot in an attempt to grab the steering wheel, Cleveland said.

As Breen tried to grab the wheel, the driver gunned the engine. The car’s side view mirror then struck the radio on Breen’s equipment belt, spinning the sergeant around but not injuring him, Cleveland said.

Clarke then fired several times at the car as it sped down the road. It was not known how many shots were fired, but it did not appear anything of significance was hit other than the car tire, the sheriff said.

The shot that hit the tire did not stop the vehicle, police said. Instead, the car ran out of gas minutes later, with the driver running off into nearby woods.

He was suspended without pay – a small price to pay for an officer who is obvisouly out of control. He should be glad he didn’t kill someone (an 18-year old no less) and we should be wondering what else he’s been up to that we haven’t heard about.

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John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.

John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.




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