Following tawdry rumors over a sexual misconduct allegation against a popular career police officer, Brett Rider, 46, several Town of Tonawanda residents are pushing the Town Board to change its policies to allow officers to receive ‘sexual gratuities’ while on duty.
The policy would not allow officers to request sexual gratuities under any circumstance, but in the event that such a non-monetary gratuity is offered, the officer would not be punished for accepting it, so long as the encounter is less than 15 minutes and the officer declines to take his next scheduled 15 minute break.
The Town of Tonawanda is planning to discuss the possible termination of Rider, a veteran public safety dispatcher, after an internal investigation found he committed misconduct on the job. A resolution that has been prepared to terminate him will be on the agenda for Monday’s Town Board meeting.
“In this political environment, with all the horrible things being said about our police officers in the national media, this policy would be a real morale booster,” says Karen, a Tonawanda resident and supporter of the policy change who asked that her last name not be published. She is leading a woman’s group that is lobbying for the new policy, and she is encouraging other supporters of the new policy to join her at Monday’s Town Board Meeting.
“Our police officers are total gentlemen. More times than not, they would politely decline any physical gratuities,” she explains. “People should feel comfortable expressing how much they appreciate the police and the work that they do.”
The Town Board resolution doesn’t offer specifics about the misconduct, but it’s widely rumored that Rider is accused of having sexual intercourse with a married woman, age 56, while on duty. The Chronicle is unable to confirm the veracity of rumors that Rider was propositioned by the woman and that several days later her husband learned of the encounter and was displeased.
“The Town Board took this violation of town policy very seriously,” said Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger, adding he couldn’t say anything more about a personnel matter.
Rider, 46, initially was suspended with pay before his status was changed to suspended without pay, according to officials familiar with the situation. The town began looking into Rider about a month ago after receiving a misconduct complaint, presumably from the displeased husband.
Town Attorney Mario A. Giacobbe led the investigation and reported his findings to Police Chief James Stauffiger, who concluded following a disciplinary hearing that Rider’s conduct warranted termination, according to the Town Board resolution.
The board is set to vote Monday night to grant the police chief and the town supervisor the authority to terminate Rider based on violations that are not detailed in the document.
On Saturday, Rider declined comment on the advice of his attorney, Paul D. Weiss.
The Kenmore resident has served as a public safety dispatcher with the town’s Police Department since 2001, according to his LinkedIn page. He’s also a former fire chief and fourth-generation member of the Sheridan Park volunteer fire company in the town. His family has deep and longstanding ties to Tonawanda town government.
Supporters of officer Rider are being asked to meet outside of Town Hall (2919 Delaware Avenue) five minutes or so before the Board Meeting is scheduled to begin (7:00 pm, Monday, August 31st) to arrange the order of public speakers.