Following settlement, Southold retains police officer whose ‘health for the job’ it had questioned

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Southold Town Police Headquarters in Peconic. (Image credit: Grant Parpan)

A Southold police officer whom the city has tried to fire for “negligence” is on probation, according to a copy of a settlement agreement received from the Suffolk Times.

Official Richard Jernick III, who was suspended without pay in December by a decision of the city administration, faced a possible termination of his employment relationship for alleged “various acts of neglect or failure to perform his duties, acts of disobedience or criminal offenses” Opposite Possibly Officer Jernick’s general character and suitability for the job “seriously” affected, the settlement agreement states. The document states that the alleged indiscretions took place in October 2020, despite the fact that the version released on Friday under the Freedom of Information Acts contains parts that have been heavily redacted by prosecutors and does not make specific allegations regarding the official’s conduct.

Officer Jernick admitted the allegations as part of the agreement signed on January 5th and was brought back to the troops as a member of the “auxiliary troop”, which according to the comparison has to work 260 days per calendar year until 2025. The auxiliaries typically rotate through the department to relieve officials who are absent, undergoing training, or injured and who have not been assigned a specially assigned schedule or sector.

As a punishment, Officer Jernick was forced to withhold 30 provisions for sick days that may not be accrued back for payment purposes, and he was placed on parole until December 31, 2025.

Under the agreement, Officer Jernick also agreed to waive his right to be considered for promotion for the next five years, and a letter of referral will be permanently placed on his personnel file. He is also undergoing retraining at the discretion of Police Commissioner Martin Flatley and has agreed not to bring charges against the city, the police department and other related agencies.

Several other provisions contained in the agreement were redacted, with prosecutors citing Section 89-2 of the Civil Servants Act, which protects the privacy of a public employee.

In December, the city council held a special session at which members unanimously decided to suspend officer Jernick without pay pending the results of an investigation that stalled after the settlement agreement approved by the Board of Directors on January 19.