Adams Police officer resigns following identity fraud charges
ADAMS -- A former Adams Police officer, who was arraigned Wednesday in Westfield District Court on multiple charges involving his alleged use of a false identity to purchase prescription medication, is no longer a member of the force, according to Police Chief Richard Tarsa.
Thomas Cook, a full-time patrolman with the department since 2010, turned in his resignation following his arrest in Westfield on Monday.
At the time of his arrest, Cook, 35, of Cheshire, was on paid administrative leave. Town Administrator Jonathan Bulter said Cook was placed on paid leave, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, in November 2013. He declined to elaborate on what sparked the investigation.
Tarsa said Cook's resignation was effective immediately on Tuesday. He declined to elaborate on the details of when he was informed of Cook's charges, but reiterated Cook was no longer employed with the department or town in any capacity.
"This does not spread to any other officers," Tarsa told the Eagle on Thursday. "This is isolated, and it appears to involve him only. It does not reach out to anyone else in the department."
He added, "I understand the [potential impact on] public trust, but this will not in any way shape or form compromise the integrity of the APD. This is an isolated incident. Nobody else is involved. The APD will carry on as always and do the job we are here to do."
Butler also addressed the arrest in a statement posted to his Facebook page.
"When something like this happens, it is a black mark on all public officials, and in this instance the town of Adams," Butler stated. "I want to apologize to the residents in Adams and the larger Northern Berkshire Community for this unacceptable circumstance, and let you all know that we share your disappointment and frustration as well."
Cook was arraigned Wednesday on charges of uttering a false prescription, identity fraud, police or witness intimidation, receiving stolen property and attempting to commit a crime, according to a report on MassLive.com. He was released on personal recognizance.
According to the MassLive.com report, Cook sought to fill a prescription of the stimulant methylphenidate, more commonly known by the brand names of Ritalin and Concerta, at a Westfield CVS. Cook allegedly presented the pharmacist with the identification of Todd Syrett, also of Cheshire. It was also alleged that Cook stole Syrett's license during a prior arrest.
Cook's alleged deception was discovered when the pharmacist contacted the real Todd Syrett to inform him the prescription was ready for pickup. Syrett denied ever having filled the prescription. The pharmacist alerted police, who arrested Cook when he attempted to pick up the prescription on Monday.
Under the department's collective bargaining agreement, many of Cook's responsibilities could not be fulfilled by reserve officers, Tarsa said.
"It's being filled with officers, we're moving shifts around and filling in the voids the best way we can," he said.
Cook's suspension has resulted in additional overtime costs, Butler said. But with a clean break through Cook's resignation, Butler said the town would look to fill the position as soon as possible.
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