A few months ago, the editors of Rockland Voice published a letter that was written by corrections officers who had either recently retired or had resigned as Rockland County Corrections Officers. In the letter, they described how they were forced to leave their employment with the Bureau of Corrections because of alleged political revenge by their boss, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco. These former employees allege that they were pressured into leaving because they had supported Falco’s opponent, Richard Vasquez, in the 2015 election for Rockland County Sheriff. We suggest you read their letter before proceeding to read this update.
Currently, Sheriff Falco is facing a litany of ‘Wrongful Dismissal’ lawsuits from many former employees who claim they were forced into unemployment exile. In this follow-up article we would like to profile the story of one suspended corrections officer who has turned down all deals from Sheriff Falco. In addition to facing what appear to be highly dubious departmental charges, this officer was also arrested and is charged with dozens of felonies by D.A. Thomas Zugibe’s office.
Simply stated, this corrections officer refuses to go quietly into Falco’s ‘tomb of exile’ and in so doing is revealing to public view the underworld that apparently exists under Sheriff Falco’s command.
Jacquelin Millien has been a Corrections Officer for approximately thirteen years. He is shown in this photograph wearing sunglasses at the left hand side of the picture in the front row. Like other former corrections officers, he openly supported Richard Vasquez to replace Sheriff Falco in the election held in November 2015. Mr. Millien is refusing to plea deal with a person who he believes is a political tyrant and he hopes to prove both in court and in his departmental hearing that once Sheriff Falco won re-election, he pursued an aggressive campaign to expunge Millien from his department along with others who didn’t support him.
As explained in ‘The Tyrant In The Tombs’ Mr. Millien is fighting disciplinary charges which have been issued from both the Sheriff’s Department as well as criminal charges which have emanated from D.A. Zugibe’s office. The preponderance of evidence which is now available for public viewing does appear to show that this is a vendetta of payback against Mr. Millien for his political support of Richard Vasquez. As one may imagine, if the winds of change start blowing in Mr. Millien’s favor, both Sheriff Falco and D.A. Zugibe should start preparing their defense for upcoming hearings for civil rights violations against Mr. Millien.
But first, let’s review the publicly available evidence:
The photo that leads this article is of Sheriff Falco and his supporters on Election Night 2015. They had just received word that Falco had won re-election to another four year term. Although this picture was texted to the head of the corrections officers union who supported Vasquez and has become a public document on social media sites, the faces of everyone except Louis Falco and one other individual have been blurred.
We would like to direct your attention to the person who is standing a few feet from Sheriff Falco in the photo and who has his right hand positioned at his face with his fingers in a “hang loose” pose. According to the following court documents
this person is identified as Jeff Krichten. He is currently a Rockland County Corrections Officer and further, according to court documents, he was also allegedly a roommate of Sheriff Falco’s son, who happens to be a Sergeant in the Rockland County Corrections department. Falco’s son is also one of the people in this photo whose faces have been blurred out.
We would like to make clear that we don’t take any issue with this corrections officer’s behavior as shown in the photograph, or with the sending of this photograph to the officers who had supported Vasquez, but this particular officer’s work performance has now come under scrutiny because Jacque Millien is presently fighting for his freedom and for his employment in two concurrent legal proceedings. Millien stands charged for what Falco and Zugibe claim are felonies while Officer Jeff Krichten is apparently shown in a video submitted in Millien’s defense behaving in a manner which raises a very simple question:
If Millien stands charged with felonies for not completing his logs at the appointed time why is the apparently more egregious behavior of Officer Krichten going unaddressed?
The answers lie, in our opinion, in the motivation of an elected official, Sheriff Falco, who preferred charges against Millien and not against Krichten.
As you will have read in ‘The Tyrant In The Tombs’ Jacque Millien was charged with a slew of felonies for making allegedly “inaccurate” log journal entries. As explained in that earlier article Millien was not making some security check entries at the precise time and to the exact minute that he was recording in his journal. For example, Mr. Millien may have literally made an entry at 09:04 hours yet the entry was marked in the book at 09:00 hrs. As stated in the earlier article, this is known to be common practice at practically all municipalities throughout the country as other officers have testified. In order to keep the books neat and symmetrical, the employee will simply mark the entry at the time it was due unless of course, something meaningful and significant happens during a shift when the entry is then time-stamped at the precise time of the event’s occurrence. This vendetta against Millien appears to have been solely accomplished by scrutinizing routine log journal entries to find these minor deviations, offer retirement to the officer, and if the officer balked at the outrage to threaten him with draconian felony charges.
In the course of discovery involved in Millien’s two legal proceedings Sheriff Falco has been required to provide the jail camera footage of Intake Housing that is the basis for proving that Mr. Millien’s logbook entries were delayed and felonies were committed. However, unfortunately for Sheriff Falco, his cameras appear to have opened a Pandora’s Box against him that must lead to either Mr. Millien’s acquittal or to even more draconian felony charges being brought against other corrections officers including Officer Krichten.
The ‘Tyrant In The Tomb’ scandal grew after Millien’s attorney introduced surveillance video from the jail into evidence and some remarkable discoveries were made. You see the crux of the prosecution’s evidence hinges on the fact that the video’s timeline shows Mr. Millien making logbook entries minutes after they are documented in the logbook. However, there is even more remarkable evidence on the same video. The cameras in the Corrections Department operate on a split screen format, in other words, the videos that are being used as evidence against Mr. Millien also have several other camera screens on them from other parts of the jail and one of them show Officer Krichten who was performing prisoner supervisory duties at precisely the same time on the floor below where Mr. Millien was working.
One crucially important fact in what Officer Millien and Officer Krichten were doing at that time is that Officer Krichten was working a suicide watch post where there is a much higher standard of supervision that must be maintained by the officer due to the emotional state of the prisoner. Officer Millien was working a precautionary watch which involved observing the behavior of three inmates in cells 5, 6 and 7. Mr. Millien’s attorney has submitted observations about the performance of the Officer Krichten’s duties on the night that Mr. Millien’s performance landed him with departmental and felony criminal charges. The editors of this article have examined the surveillance footage to corroborate that Mr. Millien’s attorney’s assertions about the conduct of Officer Krichten are factual and a small snippet of that video may be viewed here. Officer Kritchen is on the left observing his ‘suicide watch’ prisoner while Officer Millien is on the right observing his three ‘precautionary watch’ prisoners.
In the complete video footage that was submitted by the Sheriff’s office as “critical evidence” against Millien one can see Officer Krichten on the floor below Millien doing precisely the same types of actions for which Millien has been suspended and charged with multiple felonies. But to the amazement of anyone examining the behavior of the two officers it appears clear – as Millien’s attorney has now argued – that Officer Krichten is acting in even more contradiction to departmental protocols than that with which Millien has been accused. The video shows that Officer Krichten actually leaves his post several times and moves out of supervisory view of the suicide watch inmate. This is an extremely egregious violation of procedures for the monitoring of prisoners on suicide watch who must not go unobserved for any length of time, period. Additionally, the suicide watch officer, Krichten, is also shown to be making logbook entries after the times that he is officially documenting in the logbook. This latter activity is the crux of the criminal charges against Millien.
We have stated earlier that we do not believe that any of these incidents merit criminal arrests even for misdemeanor charges and especially as was described in the previous article when the proscribed internal procedures for discipline of such minor infractions as time-shifted log entries were not followed by Sheriff Falco. For example, when a supervisor believes the activity with completing logs was actually a wanton, repeated and deliberate failure of an officer to perform his duty there is a procedure of ‘official discipline‘ that is to be followed for such infractions. This procedure is as follows:
1) Verbal warning: If a procedural violation is observed, the supervisor shall caution the officer as to what has been noted.
2) Write up: On a second instance of noting the same violation, the supervisor submits a formal written infraction for the officer.
3) Suspension: The third occurrence of the same violation results in a suspension and, lastly
4) Termination: After a suspension fails to correct the behavior, termination may follow.
Officers who supported Vasquez were taken immediately to Step 4, Termination. Many did not get a case conference involving the Chief of Corrections, the officer and the Union Representative. Those officers who accepted retirement in exchange for the dropping of felony charges were required to sign a letter of release that they would not file a lawsuit against the Sheriff or his department. This begs the question of why Falco would drop upwards of 50 felony charges against individuals in exchange for retirement and a guilty plea to a single disorderly conduct charge and why would the District Attorney go along with such a blatant misuse of criminal statutes?
Given that there are cameras constantly monitoring the whole of the jail system of all officers at all times decades of operation of the jail premises, why is it that only since the last election were shotgun felony charges leveled by Sheriff Falco against certain corrections officers who campaigned for Chief Vasquez?
Due to Sheriff Falco’s egregious actions against Officer Millien and the other corrections officers that have been forced to retire/resign, under threat of prosecution we need to ask this question:
What discipline will now be imposed upon the suicide watch corrections officer who is documented on video performing his duties in a manner clearly vastly more egregious than Officer Millien?
Sheriff Falco’s position has in our opinion now become untenable because we have learned that Millien’s attorney had already asked the above question to Corrections Chief Anthony Volpe. Volpe was testifying under oath at Millien’s departmental hearing and admitted that Officer Krichten, the ecstatic supporter of Sheriff Falco and the rooming companion of his son, should have been issued departmental charges for his work performance on that night.
Our question to Sheriff Falco is simple: Why have you not had Officer Kritchen arrested and charged with multiple felonies by District Attorney Zugibe for filing time-shifted journal entries, and failure to keep continual observance on a suicide watch?
In our opinion it is becoming more apparent that Sheriff Falco, an elected public official, has abused the power of his office. As of the writing of this article, this suicide watch corrections officer has not been charged and has not been arrested although the evidence against him is now clearly displayed in publicly available court documents. Is an officer protected only if they are friends with the Sheriff’s son and if they delight in being photographed with Sheriff Falco while presenting their fingers in a “hang loose” position with projection of their tongue?
We believe this whole disgraceful episode wreaks of typical Rockland County political power abuse! It’s a classic example of trying to stifle political opposition by employing illegal bullying tactics. Consider this, while Sheriff Falco seems to have been determined to destroy his political enemies the Rockland County Strategic Intelligence Unit seems to have been determined to destroy him.
Sheriff Falco and D.A. Zugibe are two of the highest law enforcement officials in Rockland County. How is one to judge their character and integrity as they exercise the powers of their respective offices? Ultimately, they answer to you the voters. Perhaps this is the first dark glimpse of what they may have been doing when they believed that nobody was watching them!
We will continue with updates as Mr. Millien’s departmental and criminal trials progress. After viewing the totality of the available surveillance videos, it would be safe to say that Sheriff Falco and D.A. Zugibe have placed the Rockland County taxpayers in jeopardy of future civil lawsuits because of decisions they have made in the selective prosecution of Officier Millien who was targeted while Officer Krichten continues at his post.
We suspect that the numerous corrections officers who described the activities of Sheriff Falco in their article ‘The Tyrant In The Tombs‘ as being acts of blatant political retaliation against them and their colleagues is indeed correct.
What other conclusion is there to be made when the evidence is right there before one’s eyes and right there in the testimony of Chief Volpe?