PORTVILLE — The head of the Portville Village Police Department faces two felony drug-related charges.
New York State Police arrested Ronald Brisbee, 52, the officer in charge of the village department, Wednesday morning, charging him later that afternoon with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, both felonies. He was also cited for official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
State police allege Brisbee illegally possessed and sold pain medication to another person while on duty. The arrest, authorities say, is the result of a joint investigation by the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.
He appeared Wednesday afternoon in Little Valley before Judge Ronald Ploetz and was released on his own recognizance.
Members of the Portville Village Board met in an emergency session late Wednesday afternoon and voted unanimously to place Brisbee on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
“We are all shocked and saddened by the allegations and are cooperating with the state police in their ongoing investigation,” said Mayor Emily Woodhead. “As this is a personnel matter, the village will have no further comment on Officer Brisbee.”
Brisbee began working for the village’s police department as a part-time officer in 2002. He was made the department’s officer in charge, commonly referred to as police chief, in 2006. Sources say prior to his arrest, Brisbee had a spotless record on the village police force.
Oversight of the department now falls to Woodhead. In addition to Brisbee, the department is staffed by two part-time officers. In the interim, the two part-time officers will maintain normal patrols. Sources say village officials will reach out to the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office for extra manpower.
Under civil service regulations, Brisbee stands to lose his job if found guilty on any of the charges. Woodhead indicated that should he be found guilty, she would move to have him formally dismissed from the village police force.
(Contact City Editor Christopher Michel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHChris)