GREENPORT—Now former Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant William Zincio, 45, of Greenport, 17-year veteran of the force, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, in Greenport Court today, Friday, April 18.
The long-time lawman surrendered himself this morning to sheriff’s deputies at town court, where he was subsequently arrested, charged and pleaded guilty before Town Justice Robert Brenzel, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.
The action came on the heels of a 100-day joint investigation by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Unit. The investigation began in late December 2013.
“Mr. Zincio was allowed to resign and as of today is no longer employed by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office,” the sheriff said in the release.
Due to the nature of the offense and according to the terms of the plea, Mr. Zincio will not do jail time but must make restitution to Columbia County in the amount of $3,399.70 for falsifying official Sheriff’s Office documents and being paid for work he did not perform.
Mr. Zincio falsified documents by indicating he was working, when in fact he was on vacation.
The sheriff said he and DA Paul Czajka believe the immediate and successive surrender, arrest, guilty plea and disposition of the case were all in the best interests of the people Columbia County as well as the Sheriff’s Office and at no time were county residents at risk due to the non-violent, administrative crime.
“It is indeed a crime and, therefore, a serious breach of the public trust, neither of which can be dealt with in any other way,” Sheriff Bartlett said in the release.
The investigation began when possible discrepancies of falsified time sheets were reported internally. Working jointly and with the guidance of DA Czajka and his staff, a firm case was built, the sheriff said.
“As sheriff I am sorry to have to report that something like this involved one of our own, a trusted, ranking deputy. That being said, the people of Columbia County elected me last November to do a job. I answer 100% to the people of this county, and for illegal activity of any kind, everyone will be held accountable, police officers or not,” the sheriff concluded.