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Potsdam officer demoted after hit-and-run regains sergeant position

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POTSDAM — A Potsdam police officer who was demoted because of a hit-and-run accident has been reinstated as sergeant by the village Board of Trustees.

While leaving a Halloween party in 2010, Sgt. Michael Ames backed into another car and drove away without reporting it. The incident did not become public until 18 months later, in May 2012, when Potsdam resident Gerald Jenks Jr., who hosted the party, called Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis to complain that no action had been taken. Mr. Ames was demoted to patrol officer in June after an investigation and took a pay cut.

After meeting in executive session Monday, trustees voted 4-0 to promote Mr. Ames to sergeant again, effective today, after an agreement with the Teamsters union. The specifics of the deal are unknown.

Mr. Ames’s service since the incident has been exemplary, Village Administrator David H. Fenton said. “He’s doing very well, and the chief is very happy with this decision,” he said.

As for the temporary demotion, the punishment fit the crime, according to Mr. Fenton. “He’s certainly paid enough for the incident,” he said.

Mr. Ames was disciplined internally at the time, but the nature of this punishment was never revealed.

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