Montgomery hires controversial cop as town police chief


MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Town Board voted to hire John Hank Monday as the new chief of the town’s police department.

Hank, who has served on the department for about two decades, will be paid $125,000-a-year and will serve an initial one-year probationary term.

But his hiring did not come without any controversy when a series of videos surfaced on social media of Hank and other town police officers responding to a car accident on Christmas Day, 2016 when the driver drove into a tree.

“This video does show footage, which is hard to watch, and specifically the individual charged yelled, ‘I can’t breath,’ which is a phrase we know very, very well,” said Montgomery Supervisor Brian Maher. “But what happened to George Floyd, while that was criminal and horrifying, this incident was not that. After watching these videos, one part that stood out to me was seeing Police Officer Sergeant John Hank personally take another officer off the assailant and ensuring he was able to breath and calling for EMS in case he needed medical attention.”

Several days after the incident, the assailant, who was charged with DWI, resisting arrest and assault, came to police station and personally apologized to Hank after the officer worked to de-escalate the incident between the assailant and his fellow officers.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of the new chief, and Maher, who voted to approve Hank’s hiring, said he would not be swayed by a cancel culture that has derailed many careers.

“It would be easy to not hire him as police chief and act that would solve all of our problems. I think harder thing to do is tackle this issue head on. After speaking to Sergeant Hank he informed me time and again he has used this video and other videos as teaching moments when he teaches officers what to do and what not to do in situations like this,” said Maher. “To me that shows someone who is willing and able to learn from their experience.”

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