Greece Police Chief Forsythe submits resignation at supervisor’s request following crash
GREECE, N.Y. (WHEC) — Greece Police Chief Andrew Forsythe has submitted his resignation, according to Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.
On a Monday morning appearance on the Bob Lonsberry Show on WHAM-1180 AM, Reilich said he asked for Forsythe’s resignation and received it.
It comes just two days after Forsythe was placed on administrative leave Saturday over the crash of his official vehicle early Thursday morning.
The Greece Police Department reports Forsythe swerved to avoid a deer Thursday morning and crashed into a guardrail. The department says Forsyth couldn’t radio in at the time so he drove his damaged SUV away from the scene. The district attorney’s office confirmed to News10NBC that some of its investigators were at the scene of the crash Sunday morning. Reilich said Deputy Chief Jason Helfer will be taking over during the investigation.
On the @BobLonsberry radio show Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich just said he asked for Greece PD Chief Drew Forsythe’s resignation and received it. He said he called the DA and asked her to continue her investigation into Thursday morning’s crash involving the chief. @news10nbc— Berkeley Brean (@whec_bbrean) October 25, 2021
The former chief drove that SUV in that condition for five miles from the spot on 390 where it hit a guardrail to the corner of English and Borth Greece roads where it finally stopped working.
Reilich said the chief didn’t call him until Thursday afternoon.
"So at the very least, the next morning I should have been, first thing, contacted," Reilich said.
Reilich said he had no idea the former chief drove on three wheels for five miles until the weekend. That’s when he contacted the DA and put Forsythe on leave.
He told Lonsberry Monday he called Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley and asked her to continue her investigation into Thursday morning’s crash. Additionally, he said there was a “breakdown in procedure and notification” and says the DA investigation could go beyond the crash. “It could be more than that,” he said.
"There may have been more to it than just procedures not followed, and I’ve conveyed to the district attorney that it has to be thorough to whatever procedures were not followed properly,” Reilich said.
Monday, Reilich demanded the chief’s resignation.
Shortly after his appearance on the Lonsberry show, a spokesperson for Reilich shared a copy of his request for Forsythe’s resignation.
“Due to the facts available at this time, I feel it is in the best interest of all of our residents that I ask the Chief to step aside so we can continue serving the great residents of the Town of Greece without distraction. The independent investigation will, of course, continue. As I have been made aware of more and more specifics surrounding the incident, I felt this was the most appropriate step I could take. This weekend, with new facts being shared, I made the decision to place the Chief on administrative leave seeking the guidance of our Labor Attorney as to what steps I could take within the law."
As News10NBC reported Sunday, Jim Leary, a Democrat running against Reilich in the election for supervisor next week, said he felt the investigation into the crash was handled "irresponsibly," but Reilich says things were done by the book.
"We will move forward together, as we have when we have endured countless difficult times as a community. I have always put the needs of our residents as a priority and this decision was not taken lightly," Reilich said. "I have to prioritize what is right for our residents and in this case, they need to have faith that those of us charged with serving the best interests of the public will do the right thing."
About 30 minutes after releasing his statement, Reilich held a news conference to confirm what he said on the Lonsberry show. Additionally, he said he did not feel all the facts of the crash were told to him by Forsythe the morning it happened.
He said he is working with both the now Acting Chief and Deputy Chief to come up with a more formal protocol for how situations like this will be handled going forward.
The car Forsythe was driving was taken to the Monroe County Crime Lab in Rochester for further investigation.
The full request can be seen below.