TROY, N.Y. – Miscommunication between two police departments led to fugitive Jesse Sawyer being temporarily released.
Members of the Troy Police Department were frustrated early Friday morning when a man they've wanted for heinous crimes was caught and then released. It had many people outraged, confused and had some Troy Police officers lost for words.
“In some ways, we just don't get it,” Troy Police Captain John Cooney said.
The process worked like it should initially. Troy Police told Pinellas Park Police in Florida that Jesse Sawyer Jr. was in their town.
“The information that we got from Troy, N.Y. was very brief,” Sergeant Adam Geissenberger of the Pinellas Park Police Department said. “Jesse Sawyer's got a warrant, this is what the warrant is for, can you go get him?”
Pinellas Park Police arrested Sawyer, but by 12:45 a.m., Sawyer had been released. Troy Police were stunned.
“We know Jesse Sawyer to be the bad person that he has been made out to be,” Cooney said.
“We did learn of the warrant,” Sgt. Geissenberger continued. “Unfortunately, we were unable to confirm the warrant with the issuing agencies, and we subsequently released him from the scene.”
Six minutes after Sawyer had been released, a hard copy of the federal warrant arrived in Pinellas Park, and the hunt was back on.
“We believed that it was a local state warrant,” Geissenberger said. “We didn't find out until later that it was a federal warrant.”
Both police agencies said the error was due to policy differences between the two towns. Still, Cooney said the end result is all that matters.
“Pinellas Park stuck to their guns. They did a great job,” he said. “They worked throughout the day. They found Mr. Sawyer. And it is fair to say that a very dangerous individual is now off the streets.”
Now, Cooney is focused on making sure Sawyer stays behind bars. Sawyer is currently facing a federal charge of Production of Child Pornography. Cooney said if Sawyer's punishment is not sufficient enough, a local case will take place.
“It's fair and reasonable to say that we are going to led the feds do their thing until we feel a reason to step in and move forward with our own case,” he said.
Sawyer is currently being held in Florida on the federal charge. He is expected to be extradited to New York where he will be arraigned in court on that charge.