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Fort Edward police chief, sergeant placed on administrative leave

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Derway and Watkins

Fort Edward Police Chief Justin Derway, left, and police Sgt. Dean Watkins have been placed on administrative leave by the Fort Edward Village Board. The action was taken at an emergency meeting of the board on Monday night. Both men were told to turn in their guns and badges. 

FORT EDWARD — Fort Edward Police Chief Justin Derway and police Sgt. Dean Watkins turned over their guns and badges at an emergency meeting of the Village Board on Monday night.

Fort Edward Mayor Matt Traver said during a phone call on Wednesday that the board put the pair on administrative leave.

The mayor said that once the board is able to speak more on the situation, then more information will be made available to the public.

“We really can’t discuss administrative personnel issues at this time,” Traver said.

He said that even though the chief and sergeant are on leave, there are still village officers on duty.

According to the village website, there are 11 total officers in the department, seven of which are part-time officers plus two crossing guards. There are two full-time officers aside from Derway and Watkins, according to the website.

“We will still be patrolling and those guys will certainly still be doing their job,” Traver said of the remaining officers in the department.

Traver stated that the village has corresponded with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office about the situation. He said sheriff’s officers will help out however they can.

Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy said he had received an email from Traver’s office requesting assistance with patrol coverage. This will include answering law enforcement calls within the village due to the staffing issues as a result of the department’s situation.

“We’re right down the road, we can help answer calls for service within the village and make sure that people that need help receive help,” Murphy said.

He stated that the Sheriff’s Office is not conducting an investigation into the Fort Edward Police Department.

Traver said that state police have also been notified of the situation.

“If there’s anything above and beyond us and the sheriff’s department, they’ll be available as well,” he said.

Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said he has been made aware of the situation, but he has no other information about anything else surrounding the leave for Derway and Watkins.

“That’s all that we know at this point. That’s a decision that the board had to make. Why? I don’t know,” Jordan said during a phone call on Wednesday morning.

Traver said he is unsure of how long the situation involving Derway and Watkins will take to resolve.

“It’s really up in the air right now,” he said. “We really don’t know.”

Jay Mullen is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls, Warren County and crime and courts. You can reach him at (518) 742-3224 or jmullen@poststar.com.

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