Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale resigned on Dec. 12, in the wake of an investigation by District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office regarding a controversial arrest during the recent campaign season.
“District Attorney Rice today brought a troubling matter to my attention regarding questionable influence within the Nassau County Police Department,” County Executive Ed Mangano said in a statement. “Upon further investigation, the District Attorney found no evidence to indicate criminality but the investigation itself indicates a fresh look at internal procedures is warranted. … New leadership sends a clear message that stringent administrative review and application is underway.”
Mangano appointed Victor Politi, deputy county executive for public safety, to serve as acting commissioner for the time being. The NCPD’s chief of detectives, John Capece, was also asked to leave his post, and will be replaced by Narcotics Vice Squad Inspector Kevin Smith.
According to a Dec. 12 letter sent by Rice to Mangano, the investigation was set in motion after the arrest of Roosevelt resident Randy White on Oct. 5 on an open warrant for failure to pay $250 in fines for selling bootlegged DVDs. White, who testified in a civil proceeding in early October that he had been paid by the county executive campaign of Andrew Hardwick to gather nomination signatures using an illegal per-signature payment formula, was arrested after Dale received a number of phone calls from a “confidential source” detailing up-to-the-minute information on White’s whereabouts. According to Rice’s letter, Oheka Castle catering hall owner Gary Melius, a financial backer of Hardwick’s campaign, called Dale and told him of the campaign’s intention to file a perjury charge against White. Both Melius and Hardwick’s campaign denied White’s claim.