Rikers Island COs arrested for sick leave abuse after long-running probe

Between Sept. 13 and Nov. 2, 2021, 155 officers were caught absent without leave and suspended


By John Annese and Graham Rayman
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Three Rikers Island correction officers were arrested early Thursday stemming from a long-running investigation into sick leave abuse, sources familiar with the probe told the Daily News.

Investigators with the Department of Investigation arrested the three officers and referred the cases to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

A number of officers were referred to DOC for internal discipline.
A number of officers were referred to DOC for internal discipline. (Photo/Todd Maisel of New York Daily News via TNS)

Both DOI and the feds declined comment Thursday.

A number of other officers were referred to DOC for internal discipline, two sources said.

The DOC had been struggling with a massive number of officers out sick or not showing up at work through the height of the pandemic, but the problem continued well into 2021. The News previously reported that hundreds of officers had abused sick leave policies.

Between Sept. 13 and Nov. 2, 2021, for example, 155 officers were caught absent without leave and suspended.

The News also reported that sick calls rose during weekends and holidays.

The de Blasio administration even sued the Correction Officers Benevolent Association alleging the sick-out was driven by the union, only to withdraw the suit almost immediately.

About 12% of officers remained out sick per day in September as the DOC continues to have among the highest sick rates of any city agency. Another 8% are on restricted duty, meaning they can’t work with detainees.

City Comptroller Brad Lander noted in October that total hours per month on sick leave among officers remains well above pre-pandemic levels — 160,276 in August 2022 compared to 106,333 in August 2019.

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