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Gouverneur police officer is suspended during criminal investigation

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GOUVERNEUR — Village police officer Steven M. Young was suspended with pay Wednesday by the village Board of Trustees pending the outcome of a criminal investigation being conducted by state police.

Mr. Young, also the chief of the Gouverneur Fire Department, could not be reached for comment.

The board had a special meeting at 8 a.m. and went into executive session. When the board members returned to regular session about 45 minutes later, they suspended Mr. Young.

Mayor Ronald P. McDougall declined to comment on the nature of the investigation, as did Police Chief Gordon F. Ayen Jr.

“I don’t have all of my facts from the state police,” Chief Ayen said.

State police refused to discuss the case other than to refer questions about Mr. Young’s suspension to the village.

“As a policy, we never confirm or deny any investigation,” Capt. Robert S. LaFountain said.

Mr. Young was told of his suspension immediately after the board meeting. Officials did not have a time frame for the investigation to be completed.

“I’m cautiously optimistic the investigation will be short,” Mr. McDougall said.

The suspension puts the police department in a bind over coverage as Mr. Young was one of four officers — including one who is out on medical leave — a sergeant and the chief who make up the force.

The department was struggling to maintain 24/7 coverage even with Mr. Young working.

“Now it’s going to be even less,” Chief Ayen said. “It puts a strain on the other officers to cover more shifts.”

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