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Police Chief Cole placed on paid leave pending investigation

Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Safety Richard Wirth announced at an afternoon press conference on Monday, June 13, that he had placed Police Chief Christopher Cole on paid administrative leave while a full investigation is conducted into Cole's admission in a June 9 press release that he had sent lewd text messages while on duty.

Captain Michael Chowske will assume command of police chief during the investigation.

Wirth said there is no timeline for the investigation and that he will play a large role in it.

\I will do the appropriate thing. Whatever it takes, that's what I'll do, said Wirth.

Wirth said Cole stated he would "fully cooperate" with the investigation.

Asked why he decided to put Cole on paid leave, Wirth said that he was not going to take pay from anyone while he's conducting an investigation.

"I'll do the appropriate action after the investigation is completed," said Wirth.

Wirth said all options for possible disciplinary action are currently on the table including suspension, administrative leave and termination.

Wirth didn't have much comment on the investigative process going forward or his decision to place Cole on leave.

"I think it's best for the individual, I think it's best for the department and I had to act accordingly in my mind and that was a decision I made," said Wirth.

Wirth said he didn't expect the police department to be tarnished by the scandal because it was "one individual who did a fine job as police chief" and he was "sure everything will be going in the right direction in the department."

Cole was hired to the department in August 1990 and became police chief on Dec. 31, 2009.

Chowske has been with the department since April 1980 and served as an investigator, sergeant and lieutenant before becoming captain on Dec. 31, 2009.

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