Town of Ton­awanda step­ping up ef­forts to fire po­lice of­fi­cer

The Buffalo News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Stephen T. Wat­son

The Town of Ton­awanda has taken the next step in its ef­forts to fire a po­lice of­fi­cer ac­cused of falsely claim­ing he wasn’t the driver in a Jan­uary ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent.

The Town Board on Mon­day voted to hire a hear­ing of­fi­cer who will lis­ten to ar­gu­ments from the town and from Of­fi­cer Howard Scholl III, who is try­ing to keep his job, and help de­cide whether the town has grounds to ter­mi­nate him.

Scholl re­mains on un­paid leave, but he is not the only mem­ber of the de­part­ment who has been pun­ished for their ac­tions on the night of Jan. 19. The three re­spond­ing of­fi­cers, who have not been iden­ti­fied, were sus­pended without pay but have since re­turned to duty, Su­per­vi­sor Joseph Em­minger said.

The cap­tain that night also faced dis­ci­pline, though his sta­tus is un­clear. Lt. Thomas Haynes, a po­lice spokesman, de­clined com­ment ex­cept to say Scholl is the only of­fi­cer cur­rently on un­paid leave.

Scholl was leav­ing a party for the town SWAT team on the night of Jan. 19 at Si­na­tra’s Restau­rant on Ken­more Av­enue when his SUV rolled through a stop sign and struck a ve­hi­cle driv­ing on Englewood Av­enue that had the right of way.

An ac­ci­dent re­port notes icy con­di­tions may have been a fac­tor in the crash. Both oc­cu­pants of the other ve­hi­cle were taken to a hos­pi­tal for treat­ment.

The first ac­ci­dent re­port filed shortly after the crash stated Scholl’s wife, Aimee, was driv­ing. A cor­rected ac­ci­dent re­port states Howard Scholl was driv­ing.

The Town Board asked the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice to in­ves­ti­gate the crash and its af­ter­math, and that re­view con­tin­ues.

Po­lice Chief Jerome C. Uschold III pre­vi­ously said an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed vi­o­la­tions of de­part­men­tal reg­u­la­tions and pro­ce­dural er­rors did oc­cur that night but he is con­fi­dent the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers didn’t com­mit a crime.

Uschold and the town last month moved to fire Scholl.

He is chal­leng­ing his ter­mi­na­tion and the town this week hired Paul G. Joyce of the Colucci Gal­la­her law firm as a hear­ing of­fi­cer.

Joyce will hold a hear­ing on the dis­ci­plinary charges lodged against Scholl and, ac­cord­ing to the Town Board res­o­lu­tion, in the case Scholl is found guilty Joyce will for­ward his find­ings to the Town Board for re­view and ac­tion.

Paul D. Weiss, at­tor­ney for the town po­lice union, is rep­re­sent­ing Scholl with crim­i­nal at­tor­ney Barry N. Covert. “

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