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Schenectady officer still on the job with valid driver’s license after charged with DWI

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SCHENECTADY, NY (WRGB) CBS 6 has learned a Schenectady Police officer is still on the job tonight after he was charged for drunk driving, and because of a judge's ruling, the officer still has a valid driver's license.

23-year-old officer Daniel Coppola was charged with DWI just after 4am Sunday. Schenectady Police say another driver ran a red light and crashed into Coppola's car at the intersection of Broadway and Liberty streets. Police say Coppola called police to report the crash.

Our news partners at The Daily Gazette say Coppola was found to have a blood alcohol content of .12, just over the legal limit of .08.

The Daily Gazette says Coppola has been on the force two years, and is the stepson of Schenectady County Sheriff Dominic Dagostino.

In court yesterday, a judge chose not to suspend Coppola's driver's license because she said she did not receive an original certified copy of Coppola's breath test.

CBS 6’s Anne McCloy asked the police department spokesperson Sgt. Matt Dearing about the developments.

Anne: “Is he getting off easy because of his relationship to someone in office?”

“I see where people may make that connection. I’m not aware of officer Coppola's family tree or family history, but he’s not receiving any special treatment, he was arrested and charged with DWI that evening,” Sgt. Dearing said.

Sgt. Dearing says the department did provide certified documents to the court and is investigating why the judge did not receive the paperwork she deemed necessary to suspend Coppola's license.

Schenectady County Assistant District Attorney Nick McDonald says when the judge said she was not given a copy of the breathe test from authorities, that he offered her a copy of the certified breathe test, and says the judge said it was “not sufficient”. McDonald said he believed the document was sufficient to suspend Coppola’s license, and says judges commonly suspend a defendant’s license upon arraignment if given results of a certified breathe test.

The Daily Gazette reports Coppola is still on the job because of a recent change in police department policy that says the department cannot suspend an officer charged with a crime until they get a hearing in front of the city's public safety commissioner. The Daily Gazette reported the policy change was the result of a long-running legal case.

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