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      Police Chief suspended after grandson's overdose

      Stephen Sgarlata / file photo

      Sherrill City Police Chief James Hastings has been suspended without pay in the aftermath of his 6 year old grandson's methamphetamine overdose back in February. The grandson was staying with Chief Hastings at the time.

      The news release put out by the City of Sherrill says it has "preferred charges against Chief Hastings", but City Manager Bob Comis refuses to elaborate. "There's no additional information it's a personnel matter and its confidential."

      It's the second time Hastings was removed from office a fter CNY Central's Jim Kenyon exposed the incident in March. Chief Hastings was previously placed on leave with pay for two weeks while city leaders investigated.

      T he Chief's son, Jason Hastings is considered a prime suspect in the overdose but State Police have not charged him. The federal DEA stepped in on May 5th and accused Jason Hastings of buying large quantities of ephedrine which is used to make meth.

      C oincidentally , H astings suspension comes the day after the father of the boy who suffered the overdose filed a notice of claim . The legal papers name the chief , C ity of Sherrill and others over the incident. Steve Sgarlata says the reason for such a lawsuit is "to get to the truth of what happened to my son."

      S garlata claims Oneida County Child Protective Investigators, police and government officials tried to sweep the overdose incident under the carpet.

      City Manager Comis says that's not true. "T he City of Sherrill prides itself on openness and prides itself on protecting its citizens and we would not do that."


      The Sherrill Police Chief has been suspended without pay after his grandson overdosed on methamphetamine earlier this year.

      Sherrill City Clerk Mike Holmes confirms to CNY Central that Sherrill Police Chief James Hastings has been suspended for 30 days. City Manager Bob Comis could not disclose the reason behind the suspension.

      The City of Sherrill has released the following statement concerning the suspension of Police Chief James Hastings: "The city of Sherrill has preferred charges against Chief Hastings in accordance to New York State civil service law. The chief has been placed on unpaid suspension. As the incident is a personnel matter the city of Sherrill will have no further comment."

      In related news, the father of the six-year-old boy who suffered a methamphetamine overdose in February has filed a notice of claim against nine individuals and municipalities.

      Stephen Sgarlata tells CNY Central the lawsuit is designed to uncover the truth about his son's overdose while in the care of his grandfather, who is also the chief of police in Sherrill. Sgarlata feels because the grandfather, James Hastings, is the police chief there was a concerted effort to cover up the incident.

      Named in the notice of claim are Chief James Hastings, his wife Cindy Hastings, his son Jason Hastings, and daughter Melissa Hastings, who is the mother of Sgarlata's son. Also named are the city of Sherrill, the Town of Vernon, and Oneida County. Vernon and Oneida County are included because Sgarlata feels public officials in the village and the county did not properly take measures to protect his son.

      Court records indicate state police investigators suspect Jason Hastings had something to do with the methamphetamine overdose, though he has not been charged. However, on May 5 Jason Hastings was arrested by federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents and accused of the illegal purchase of ephedrine at pharmacies in Madison and Oneida counties. Ephedrine is one of the main ingredients in the production of methamphetamine.

      Sherrill City Manager Bob Comis responded to the notice of claim by saying, "I know the City of Sherrill has not done anything wrong and we will defend ourselves."