A former Frankfort police officer said in court Monday that then-village police Chief Steven Conley gave him a police firearm that was later reported stolen.
Conley has denied that allegation, but prosecutors have said the proper procedure wasn’t followed in this case if there is any validity to former officer Daniel Herrman’s assertion.
“It’s not the chief’s gun to give – it’s the village of Frankfort’s property,” Assistant District Attorney Grant Garramone said after Herrman, 40, of Utica, pleaded guilty in Oneida County Court to fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a felony.
Herrman faces five years of probation when he is sentenced on Wednesday, July 11.
This period of probation will run the same time as the five-year probation Herrman was placed on in Herkimer County Court Friday for illegally seizing the phone records of another Frankfort officer he worked with.
During his plea Monday, Herrman told Judge Barry M. Donalty that he didn’t realize the weapon was “stolen” because it was given to him by Conley, the Frankfort police chief at the time.
“I thought it was a gift,” Herrman said. “I didn’t know until everything transpired.”
When state police investigated the circumstances of the weapon, Conley denied ever giving a gun to Herrman.
Herrman, however, still kept the gun after he left the police department in summer 2010, around the same time that Conley resigned as chief under a swirl of controversy surrounding his administration, including allegations that he choked another officer, Samuel Ameduri III.
Herrman never filed the proper paperwork to legally possess the weapon, and he then transferred the weapon to another family member in Floyd without following the proper legal procedure, prosecutors said.
After the proceeding, Herrman’s attorney, Michael Daley, explained how Herrman says he came to possess the weapon. While Herrman was with the department, at some point Conley became aware that Herrman was looking to purchase a weapon, Daley said.
“Chief Conley simply came forward and said, ‘I know you’re looking for a weapon. Here, this is for you,’” Daley recalled Herrman’s account of what happened.
Herrman then believed he could simply add the second weapon to his police badge, but Herrman failed to do so, Daley said.
This plea will also cover other charges pending against Herrman in Yorkville, including a family court contempt charge and the possession of a police badge and duty radio allegedly stolen from the police department.