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North Syracuse: Officials react to officers arrest

Sergeant Daniel Keefe began his shift wearing handcuffs on his belt, but by Friday morning, a similar pair were on his wrists.

Keefe, who was arrested by Onondaga County District Attorney's investigators on Nov. 12 at the completion of his shift for allegedly falsifying time sheets in 2004 and 2005. He was charged with one felony count of falsifying business records and a misdemeanor count of official misconduct.

Keefe was arraigned in front of village of North Syracuse Justice Robert J. Bernard, who released Keefe on his own recognizance. Keefe is to appear again in village court on Nov. 27. He could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Village police chief Thomas Connelly wouldn't comment on the arrest or the investigation, but said the loss of Keefe, 52, does strain the resources of the department.

"It's detrimental to us in terms of manpower," Connelly said. "He was in a supervisory position, so now we got to juggle some stuff around."

Keefe has been put on leave with pay. He could not be reached for comment.

Workloads aside, the arrest raises more questions about how and who handled the time sheets under the supervision of prior chief David Wilkinson.

Village treasurer Dianne Kufel said before Connelly stepped in, an administrative assistant compiled the time sheets based on the schedule. Nowadays, its up to each individual officer to fill out time sheets, which are reviewed by a captain or chief, and then finalized by Kufel.

"Everybody fills out their own time sheets," said Kufel, who noted that she always makes sure that everybody's hours add up and are accounted for.

North Syracuse Mayor John Heindorf said the village has nothing to hide.

"We cooperated fully in this investigation, in particular the village of North Syracuse Police Department," Heindorf said. "This is all alleged, the man has not been convicted, so we'll have to wait and see."

The arrest of Keefe was the result of a two-month long investigation by the Onondaga County District Attorney's office. Keefe is alleged to have had officers log him out of work after he had already left.

The investigation is still underway and more arrests may be made, according to the DA's office.

Deputy Mayor Diane Browning said she was upset with the arrest: "I'm very disappointed that this had to end up this way."

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