Public Safety Board meets to discuss officer's future

Posted at: 03/18/2013 6:24 PM
Updated at: 03/18/2013 7:12 PM
By: Kumi Tucker

RENSSELAER -- Four members of the Rensselaer Public Safety Board went into a closed door meeting with police at Rensselaer City Hall. A short time later, Deputy Police Chief James Frankoski gave NewsChannel 13 an update.

He said Officer Mark Fusco has been placed on administrative leave and that once the paperwork is done, Fusco will be suspended, first without pay, then with pay, pending the outcome of an internal police investigation. 

Since the crash, there have been some questions about Fusco's status as a police officer. Police maintain that Fusco is not getting any special treatment because he is a police officer or because his father is the police chief.

East Greenbush police say that early Wednesday morning, Fusco was driving drunk and speeding when he crashed on Third Avenue Extension. The passenger in the car, 22-year-old Sean Murphy of Slingerlands, was thrown from the car and pronounced dead at the scene. The car was destroyed. Parts of the vehicle were found a good distance away.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Rich McNally says the vehicle and traffic law violations against Fusco have not been upgraded yet, but that he will likely face other charges when lab results come back and that he will be arraigned when he is able to leave the hospital. Fusco is expected to be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

The person who would normally speak to the Public Safety Board about disciplinary matters is the police chief. In this case, Deputy Chief Frankoski has stepped in to take his place. Police Chief Rick Fusco is the father of Officer Mark Fusco. Authorities say Officer Fusco has been with the department since July.

"There's a process that has to be followed," said Deputy Chief Frankoski. "Paperwork has to be filed, so I have to do that in order to get the suspension. I conducted the investigation as quickly as I could. I'm getting the paperwork to the attorney today and as soon as he gets it back to me, it'll be taken care of."

Fusco is still in the hospital where he is listed in fair condition.