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Bethlehem Town Board names Michael Whitely detective

The district's superintendent also had kind words for Whitely.

"Officer Whitely is a true professional and a great role model for BC's kids," said Superintendent Michael Tebbano. "I am pleased to welcome him to the district in this role, and expect that he will be a great representative of the community and the department and a positive presence in our schools."

With the two promotions from within the department, Bethlehem is now short two patrol officers, which Cunningham said the town is actively canvassing for. The selections must be made off of the Albany County Civil Service list.

"We're looking at potential candidates now, but we have to make selections off of the list," he said.

Cunningham added that the town is actively seeking female and minority candidates for the department. Currently there is only one female officer on the force.

The restructuring comes at a time of internal strife within the department as Officer Christopher Hughes, who is on paid leave, has made several allegations to the district attorney's office involving favoritism, the targeting of officers over union matters, and racism.

Little has been said on the town's behalf as the investigation is a "personnel matter," but Cunningham has refuted several of the claims.

During the Town Board meeting when Whitely was promoted, a truck parked outside in the municipal parking lot towed a large billboard highlighting some of the claims Hughes has been making.

The billboard, towed by Hughes' father, depicted three monkeys covering their eyes, ears and mouth and had the names "Cunningham," "Corsi" and "Soares" written about them, referring to the supervisor, chief of police and Albany County District Attorney David Soares and the way they have handled Hughes' claims against the department. ""

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