NORWICH – “I have done nothing but work hard and risk my life for this city,” said Scott Germond of the Norwich Police Department. “I crossed the thin blue line, and I’m paying for it.”
Germond said he spent his life desiring to be in law enforcement and worked for the Chenango County Corrections Division and for the State prior to being hired at the NPD in 2014.
“I ended up getting into a place that turned a blind eye to things that should have been taken care of,” he said. “I didn’t want to have a part in the misconduct going on.”
Germond explained that he first filed complaints in January 2016.
“The harassment actually started when I was hired,” he said. “The department was witness to what was going on. It was done openly, comments were made openly. When I was hired, I was approached by Sergeant Carpenter who asked me to try to help get another officer fired. I wouldn’t do it.”
“I was targeted because I don’t fit the norm,” he added.
Germond said he was often called expletives that related to his history in musical theater. After he filed the complaints against his supervisor, he said retaliation from other officers within the department began.
“The department turned against me,” he said. “Numerous officers refused to work with me or back me up.”
Germond is currently out on medical leave, saying that he’s been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the activities.
“When I turn around and make it known things were happening that shouldn’t be, I get pushed out,” he said.
Germond said that throughout much of this process, he has dealt with Deborah DeForest, Director of Human Resources for the City of Norwich.
Germond said he was told by DeForest that he needed to do his job and the investigation is continuing.
“When I turned in the misconduct, there was a meeting with a number of officers involved,” said Germond. “One officer was violently confrontational. Another made a threat to burn my house down. This was done in front of the Chief. When I told DeForest about the threats, she said she didn’t think they were serious.”
Continued Germond. “One officer stated he was going to come to my house, burn it down and kill me. Keep in mind, this is a signed statement from a police officer.”
“I have done nothing but my job since I got here,” said Germond. “Now my job, reputation, career are all in jeopardy because I wouldn’t allow mistreatment by a supervisor.”
Germond added that since his supervisor’s termination, he doesn’t feel safe returning to work.
“I don’t feel safe coming back to it with coworkers who have said they won’t have my back in dangerous situations for me turning in misconduct,” he said.
“The truth needs to be known, and not swept under the carpet,” he said.
When asked about the details of the misconduct, he said there were numerous instances. He recalled when he first got hired, his supervisor telling him “If I don’t like you, you won’t get trained.”
Germond said he has received zero training since graduating from the academy.
Another issue, Germond added, is that the investigation is not being conducted by an impartial source. “It’s being conducted by DeForest, and she is part of the complaint,” he said. “When I told HR about what was going on, they tried to get me to work with these same officers who were openly hostile to me.”
Germond claimed that not only have his concerns been ignored by HR, but also by Police Chief Rodney Marsh.
“He [Carpenter] was trying to humiliate me in front of other officers,” said Germond about actions that occurred six months ago. “Then the entire department retaliated against me for speaking out against it.”
According to Germond, “Human Resources is telling blatant lies about a transfer I put in for. They’re saying I was trying to get out of the department for a higher paying job. When in actuality, the other job paid less. I was just trying to find a way out of the harassment. I didn’t want to deal with that treatment anymore.”
Germond said the department itself has issues as a whole. “It is allowed to be openly hostile and push a person out of work,” he said.
When asked if he would ever return to work if cleared from medical leave, he said, “I would like to. This is the job I’ve always wanted; I just don’t feel like it’s safe to go back.”
“I did the right thing, and I’m paying for it,” he said. “If I go back, there will be repercussions for going back. It is not a good environment.”
Germond spoke out regarding a wall located inside the department that contained images and clippings that he said were inappropriate in nature. “It is a sliding door, so they could hide it,” he said. Germond said the photos on the wall were viewed not only by officers, but that he has witnessed superiors looking at the photos that were affixed.
Germond added, “There needs to be accountability. A police department anywhere needs accountability. I don’t understand how I can be treated like this when I did the right thing.”
“I took an oath to protect and serve the public,” Germond said. “I’m not going to uphold the ‘blue line’ when people are doing things they shouldn’t. My ethics are better than that.”
Norwich City Mayor Christine Carnrike was contacted for comment with regard to the matter. She was asked five questions, and answered ‘NO COMMENT [sic]’ to four of the questions.
To the question regarding further details about Carpenter’s termination, she said, “At this time the City of Norwich can make no comment other than to restate Resolution #36-2016 was adopted by the City Council on May 17, 2016, as a result of thorough consideration of the facts presented to the City Council and Mayor following an investigation by the City of Norwich Labor Attorney and Human Resources Director. The City Council and the Mayor are committed to the process keeping the interests of the City of Norwich in mind and we are unable to provide any additional comments.”
The mayor added, “The service of a Notice of Discipline was provided late last week to Mr. Carpenter by the City Police Chief, Rodney Marsh, upon receipt of the charges on June 9, 2016, by the Human Resources Director.”
With regard to the department as a whole, Germond said, “It’s not like they’re all bad people. There are a lot there who knew what was going on, and even they were afraid to say anything. Look at what happened to me. I’ve never been treated more unprofessionally since this all came out.”
“Officers have openly said they refuse to back you up. I’ve been in knife wielding, dangerous situations in this city while on duty. Do I put my safety in danger to keep others safe when those I’m supposed to work with have said they will not have my back?”
Requests for all Notices of Discipline for every officer in the Norwich Police Department have been filed under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), and further information will be released once said documents are received.
Germond said he is not trying to discredit everyone at the department, as it’s not everyone.
“The truth,” said Germond. “That is what I care about. To make it a better place, you first have to expose it. When you open the closet door, you’ll find nothing but skeletons. I have taken an oath to protect and serve the public, and have chosen to do so by breaking the blue wall of silence and paid for that.”
Norwich Police Chief Rodney Marsh, Deborah DeForest, and F. Paul Battisti (Carpenter’s attorney) were contacted multiple times via telephone and email but did not comment as of press time.