Endicott police officer remains suspended after alleged threats
ENDICOTT — A village police officer remains suspended with pay, one month after allegedly threatening to shoot two young men he claimed started a snowball fight on his property.
After allegedly making the threats, John L. Vanek, 52, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of second-degree menacing. On Jan. 9, he pleaded not guilty in Town of Union Court.
Vanek, who served as the police department’s canine officer, is paid a $63,000 annual salary. The police department expects to submit an internal review of the incident to the village board of trustees, Chief Michael Cox said this week....
Vanek had been driving through Endwell on Dec. 26, looking for youths who ran through his backyard and started a snowball fight with another teenager, when he stopped two young men walking home on Pheasant Lane.
Vanek, who was off-duty, brandished a police baton and asked if the males, ages 17 and 20, were the ones who were going through his and other people’s backyards, according to police documents.
“Chill out, dog,” the 17-year-old told him, the report states.
“I am not your dog, I am a police officer and I will beat your face in,” Vanek responded, according to a statement the 20-year-old gave police. “If I catch you (expletive) again, I will shoot you and sick my dogs on you.”
Court documents don’t mention whether Vanek was carrying a firearm during the incident. In his statement to police, the 20-year-old said Vanek appeared to be in a “shaking rage.”
Before Vanek sped away in his vehicle, he caught the young men looking at his license plate number, court papers said.
He pulled alongside them again and said: “Vanek, Endicott P.D., go ahead and report me,” according to the 20-year-old’s statement to police.11:28 PM, Jan 26, 2013