Duo charged trying to cheat physical portion of police exam

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Authorities here said the man wanted in connection to a police physical exam scam turned himself in over the weekend.

Buffalo police said early this month that Justin Payne wanted to be a cop. So bad, in fact, he was willing to break the law to join the local force.

Investigators had been looking for his accomplice — the man Payne hired to take the physical portion of the test — ever since.

That man is Frankie Bazile, a 23-year-old from Niagara Falls. He was charged with criminal impersonation, which is a misdemeanor.

Payne was one of hundreds of people who showed up earlier this year to take the written exam to become an officer with the city of Buffalo.

But police say he wasn’t quite fit enough for the requirements of the physical test, taken on a different day and at a different place.

That’s when Bazile allegedly stepped in.

In addition to security measures in place to catch this kind of cheating, police said Bazile made a key mistake: After taking the physical test, he signed his own name on the paperwork.

Tired of being hounded by police, Bazile turned himself in to police on Saturday.

Police say Payne didn’t have to go to such lengths to become an officer.

“Mr. Payne had options here,” said Buffalo Lt. Jeff Rinaldo. “If he was not ready to take the physical fitness test, he could’ve taken a deferment, he could’ve had up to a couple of years to take that test. And it’s not such a strenuous test that somebody couldn’t train to do. So the fact that he was just trying to bypass the process, it’s not acceptable and it calls into question what his other motives might have been.”

Bazile remains in jail on the impersonation charge, and is set to appear in city court on Thursday. Payne was arrested earlier this month by Buffalo police and has since been released from jail. He’s set to appear in court in November.


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