A swinging summer love affair of one city police officer resulted in him being ostensibly disciplined following an internal affairs investigation. Police officer David Baird allegedly exchanged 9,421 text messages, 536 emails, and exhausted 653 minutes on his phone communicating with Marla Kentos, his paramour, during a 30-day period, largely while on duty.
Baird allegedly abandoned his post on “several occasions”, according to a complaint filed by Robert Kentos, former husband to Marla Kentos, to pursue his affair. The complaint, sent to the prosecutor’s office, the state’s attorney general’s office, and the city’s police department, was sustained against Baird, according to a letter from the city’s internal affairs unit.
“The investigation revealed that there was sufficient evidence to prove your allegations,” wrote police sergeant Manuel Hernandez in a letter dated July 22nd, 2014. Hernandez on Friday said he could not discuss the details of the investigation; when asked to simply discuss the process, Hernandez said, “I can’t discuss any internal affairs processes.”
Questions were raised about the investigation process, for Robert Kentos said he was never interviewed by anyone at the city’s internal affairs unit. Internal affairs procedure manual states, “Whenever possible, all witnesses to the matter under investigation should be personally interviewed and formal statements taken.”
Washington Griffin, head of the internal affairs unit, said the investigating officer did speak to Robert Kentos. “The complainant sent us a letter,” said Griffin. “One of my personnel who handled the investigation did at least speak to him.”
“The complaint was sustained against him [Baird] and the chief of police disciplined him,” said Griffin. “He was disciplined according to the rules and regulations of our department.”
Griffin said the department does not have to notify the complainant of what sort of discipline was meted out to the officer. Indeed, much of the information cannot be verified with official records due to the secretive nature of internal affairs investigations.
The public or even the complainant, according Manual Hernandez, officer who investigated Baird, is never told exactly what sort of discipline was dished out to the officer.
Payroll record show Baird is still employed with the department.
“He [Baird] should not be doing this,” said Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, chairman of the city council’s public safety committee, when told of Baird allegedly leaving his post to conduct his affair.
“Information suggest he [Baird] may have driven while on duty to New York City on 2 occasions in Aug 2012 for purposes of conducting an ongoing extra marital affair with Marla Kentos,” alleges Robert Kentos’ complaint.
“It’s sickening to hear that,” said Akhtaruzzaman. “We have to have some discipline. I will speak to the chief or the director.”
It’s not clear when Baird’s infatuation began to allegedly interfere with his duties as a police officer. The records provided to this paper shows he spoke on the phone with Marla Kentos for 653 minutes from July 9th, 2012 to August 6th, 2012. The phone calls were spread throughout each day: some were at 11 a.m.; others at 8 p.m. It’s difficult to figure out how many of those 653 minutes were exhausted while Baird was on duty.
Baird’s text messages, some 9,421, were exchanged between July 9th, 2012 and August 6th, 2012. His emails, 536 of them, were similarly exchanged between August 6th, 2012 and August 20th, 2012.
“I submit that it would be very difficult for one to perform work as an on duty officer for the Paterson police while texting 9421 times in a 27 day period,” wrote Robert Kentos, who has since filed for divorce, in his complaint. The amount of the texts come out to 300 messages per day, according to the complaint.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Akhtaruzzaman.
William Fraher, the city’s police chief, did not respond to a message seeking his comments for this story.