Buffalo cop returns to job after years on paid leave for inappropriate conduct allegations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- For the past five years, Buffalo Police Officer Timothy Wagner been paid to stay home on paid leave or suspension.

On Wednesday, Wagner got a phone call he’s been waiting for; telling him to report back to work on Thursday. His girlfriend Bonnie Newman says Wagner was ecstatic to get that news. Wagner himself was unable to speak to News 4 due to Buffalo Police protocol.

In November of 2009, when the Police Commissioner of the time, McCarthy Gipson, suspended Wagner on allegations of having inappropriate contact with a woman while on duty. Even Federal agents investigated the claims but pressed no charges. Years passed, and for all of it except one month, Wagner was being paid anywhere from $63,000 to $80,000 a year, but wanted to be back on the streets.

“He can’t wait to get back he’s more than ready and willing,” says Newman. “He’s got to go downtown tomorrow and this is his life. I’m more scared because I know the streets have changed in five years, but like he says to me, ‘Honey, that’s what I was put on this earth to do and that’s what I’ll do and nobody’s gonna take it from me’.”

Wagner was named Officer of the Month one month in 2002 for stopping a rape in progress, by shooting the suspect, but over the past 5 years, the City paid out over $370,000 while he sat home over allegations that apparently couldn’t be proven as truthful.

“I just think it’s wrong that an outsider can call Internal Affairs or the Police Department and say, “This officer did this or this officer did that’ and they’re guilty until proven innocent,” Newman complained, frustrated at her boyfriend’s ordeal.

A Buffalo Police spokesman told News 4 that the department is reviewing the arbitrator’s decision that gave Wagner his job back. The Department has no further comment at this time. Wagner will report Thursday for retraining before he returns to street patrol.

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