Sandusky officer misidentifies political candidate in incident report, again

A Sandusky police officer mistakenly placed a sheriff's captain at the scene of an altercation last month and then later called the captain's character into question, Erie County Sheriff's officials said.
Emil Whitis
Nov 23, 2011

 

A Sandusky police officer mistakenly placed a sheriff’s captain at the scene of an altercation last month and then later called the captain’s character into question, Erie County Sheriff’s officials said.

It’s the second time in as many years that Officer Eric Costante mistakenly placed a political candidate at the scene of an incident involving police.

But misidentification wasn’t the only error that got Costante in trouble with his boss.

Police Chief Jim Lang verbally reprimanded Costante for later altering the Oct. 24 incident report that misidentified Capt. Paul Sigsworth as the deputy who witnessed an argument outside the county courthouse.

“We told him not to do it again,” Lang said. “There was no formal discipline.”

More troubling to sheriff’s officials, however, are the comments Costante allegedly made to a roomful of law enforcement officers during a Fraternal Order of Police meeting Nov. 1.

Multiple law enforcement officials said they learned Costante told officers at the meeting that Sigsworth didn’t help him during the Oct. 24 incident.

Costante wouldn’t confirm or refute the truthfulness of the allegations.

“I’m not going to comment on that (meeting), period,” he said. “It’s a private meeting.”

Erie County Sheriff Terry Lyons said Costante’s inaccurate report raises concerns.

“It calls Sigsworth’s character into question,” Lyons said. “That’s obvious.”

In the first version of his report, Costante stated he saw a person — Michael Brown, 43, of Sandusky — shouting obscenities in front of the courthouse.

“Standing at the front door I observed Capt. Sigsworth and a second subject walk inside the court,” the report stated.

Costante then confronted Brown and told him he’d be arrested if he didn’t stop shouting. Brown then left.

About two days prior to that incident, Sigsworth had announced his plans to run for the Erie County Sheriff’s seat.

After the FOP meeting, several attendees told him about Costante’s allegations, Lyons said.

“The perceived problem was that one of the deputies didn’t take the appropriate action to assist another agency,” Lyons said.

Said Sigsworth: “What was alleged was I turned my back on what was going on. At first I was upset with myself. When another cop needs help you don’t question, you don’t hesitate, you just go.”

But after racking his brain, Sigsworth said he couldn’t remember being outside the courthouse on Oct. 24.
Other deputies then confirmed: It was actually Deputy Joe Pfeiffer who had been at the courthouse that day.

Pfeiffer told Lyons he remembers the incident much differently than Costante — the officer and Brown appeared to be talking normally, so there was no reason to intervene.

Lang said he didn’t believe for a minute that Sigsworth would refuse to help someone.

“Anybody who knows Sigsworth knows that that doesn’t sound like him,” Lang said. “He’s always around to help.”

Lang said he called Costante to his office and told him his report was wrong.

“We found out it wasn’t Sigsworth,” Lang said. “So we told him to fix it.”

Rather than writing a second report to supplement the original — as department policy requires — Costante erased “Capt. Sigsworth” and typed over it, “a Sheriff Deputy.”

Lang then told Costante, a five-year veteran with Sandusky police, not to do that.

In 2009 Costante wrote an incident report that said officers arrested a cocaine dealer at Diedre Cole’s house.

At the time, Cole was poised to replace outgoing city commissioner Brett Fuqua.

A Register reporter saw the report and asked Cole about it, and she was outraged at the inaccuracy.

Police later admitted it was a mistake.

After that incident, Costante was ordered to take a refresher course on “basic investigative procedures.”

Then-police Chief Charlie Sams also assigned him to the detective’s division so he could learn from seasoned officers.

At the time, Cole said: “If that’s an example of our police department and their efforts, I’m terribly sorry, but we have some corrections that need to be made and made immediately.”

Costante said there was no ulterior motive for mistakenly mentioning Sigsworth in the Oct. 24 report.

“There’s no political motive,” Costante said. “I’m not losing my family and home for whatever personal gain would come of it.”

Comments

wiredmama222

This is NOT misidentification, it is out and out LYING.  If chief the chief is aware of it, let the consequences begin 

There are rules that apply and they should be inforced for the conduct.  This guy needs to GO. 

If he is willing to lie about this, then he could lie about other things.  Maybe it is time for a new broom to sweep clean. 

I, for one, am sick to death of incidences like this: cop after cop doing as they please.  They have rules to follow and they don't get suspeneded when putting on that badge. 

 In fact, they SHOULD be setting an example to follow and this isn't it.  Get rid of him. 

Darkhorse

Let's have a party  to introduce all the police officers in the area and future elected officials to this guy.  This incident should go in this cop's file for future reference  If the cop wasn't sure who the person was, he should have asked someone close by who the guy was or even go up and introduce yourself so you could get the name right in the record.  Maybe the guy needs some flash cards with the officer's pictures on them he can carry with him at all times. It is a funny coincidence that this could happen twice to the same person especially when he was warned before about mistakes on his reports.   

ReallyGood

I'm confused...so what exactly happened here??

44870 South

 The reason you are confused is because this isn't a story. Sounds like a mistake was made, then corrected. The End.

ReallyGood

Agreed, I don't see what the story is here. Or even what happened?? SR was in such a hurry to put a story in the paper. It appears thy put more effort into the suggestive heading than the article itself. Its very vague and all over the place. How people can comment that he needs to lose his job based on that article is clearly ignorant

Taxpayer

If there is no record in his file to show PREVIOUS conduct to LIE on official police reports, then Charlie Sams was WRONG to take care of his "buddy" in the FOP UNION.  If there is something in his file, then Jimmy Lang is WRONG and totally derelict in giving a bad apple a "verbal" warning for doing the exact same thing AGAIN!  How MANY chances does this officer get?  This is the typical, liberal premise of doing NOTHING about the conduct of officers who are SWORN to protect and serve.  Like I have posted before, it appears the FOP UNION feels the people are supposed to serve them!  "If you don't pass another LEVY to increase our salaries and benefits, if you complain about us, then do NOT bother calling us when you need help."  How is THAT for a UNION protection racket?  How many times have you read that on this blog?  HOW can such a small department be so riddled with CORRUPT officers?  So, you simply call this officer into the office and tell him, "Don't do it again," because management is afraid of the UNION?  How about that open defiance to policy in erasing Sigsworth's name and typing "Sheriff Deputy" over it?  "Duh, don't do that again."  I guess it is business as usual and the PEOPLE of the city deserve exactly what they vote and PAY for.  Hey, Diedre Cole, YOU have NO chance to make any "corrections" against the FOP UNION.  Get a life!  More typical, liberal, political, soapbox gibberish.  Our society is based on the credulity of LE personnel.  You need a police report for accidents, damage reports, theft reports, MURDER investigations, criminal convictions, social control of society, and we PAY for it!  If there is NO integrity, accuracy and HONESTY in our LE agencies, there is no hope and change we can believe in.  There is good and bad in everything and I understand the Register is biased against LE, but come on!  HOW many members of LE continue to provide cannon fodder for the Register?  Hey, you saps who PAY taxes for this great UNION service to the community, still believe you are getting your tax dollar's worth?  What is that false UNION premise again?  "A fair day's work for a fair day's pay?"  Ha! Ha!                    

44870 South

 They should limit the number of characters you can type on here. I stopped reading half way through Taxpayer's rant.

gene44870

It does not matter if he knew who was who , he needs to treat everyone as an equal and with the same respect he would want himself , Weather or not he knows them or not , or weather they are running for an open seat on the commission .

Alot of times they can be wrong and thats why we have a justice system , no matter what you may think about it , we have one .

The Officer in this case was warned once to follow the rules and he didnt , so something needs to be done to ensure the rules will be followed .I dont think think he should be fired , cause this is only his second strike and who knows maybe he learn something from this ,I say give him a repremand in his personal jacket and place him on probation and see if that will help him to do the job the way he is suppose to .

SitandSpin

Typical Sandumpy LE, lie, cheat, wizz off docks, falsify reports etc.....I feel sorry for the few good Sandumpy LE there are left, guys like this give them all a bad name !

cockynurse

 Oh my...it sounds to me like the officer made a mistake.  This isn't news and shouldn't be public.  I think it was handled appropriately-until it was put in the newspaper!  The officer made a mistake in a report...and?  He CORRECTED it.   He isn't the only officer who has made a mistake in a report and he wont be the last.  

 

Taxpayer:  

Do you realize how little SPD officers make?  I don't believe they are giving us "a fair day's work for a fair day's pay".  In fact, I think they should get paid MORE, A LOT MORE.  

 

I do not know what in the world is going on with all of the police bashing.   I do not know any officer from the SPD; however, I can tell you I am thankful for the work they do....MISTAKES and all.  

Blacktigress

I know Jim Lang very well, he is a good man whom I had dealings with at Hunter Motors. If Jim didn't fire this guy he had reason. Jim is 100% stable, fair and law abiding, if more cops where like him we would have a perfect force.

Capt Sigsworth is a fine outstanding man as well, though I've had less dealings with him; many in my community believe him to be fair and balanced.

So, on this account I would say this cop was treated as he should be treated, knowing Lang and I can't second guess his judgement knowing how proffessional he is.

 

Unabasho

The "he said; she said"
makes wonderful soap opera, but
shouldn't we just grow up?

nofufucat

I think most law enforcement officers do a great job.  However, when an officer's veracity is called into question,  one wonders  how many times the officer has "corrected" reports without doing  a supplemental report.  Would keep him as far away as possible from testifying in any court case because it's apparent his observational skills are somewhat questionable defense attorneys would LOVE him...................lol 

real talk

 When I was in the police academy, one instructor would tell us seemingly enless stories about dumb things cops had done. As a warning of what not to do. He would normally end the stories with "People normally don't become cops because they are smart"

java

Sounds like he writes like he talks.  Ever iron that uniform Officer Costante?
 

jethro

So, let me get this straight, Officer Jaimie DeSalle was fired a year ago for lying, but, one of the "good ole boys" Costante gets a slap on the wrist.   Hmmmmm, makes no sense....Oh, wait a minute, DeSalle wasn't one of the "special" Officers who do whatever they want, and suffer no consequences!

jessie01

This is an all new low..... Even for the Sandusky Register.  He mentioned Capt. Sigsworth in his report because at the time, that is who he believed he saw.  It was brought to his attention, so he corrected it.  Now, the Register scribbles an article in attempt to ruin him personally and professionally.  It makes no sense!  People act like they've never been out in public and seen someone they think they know, only to find out it wasn't that person at all.  IT HAPPENS, FOLKS!

Officer Constante is not only a good cop but a good person and the Register should be ashamed for portraying him in such a way, as should the rest of you who are talking about how he should be fired.  Really??  I suppose you have never made a mistake, personally or professionally?  If so, were you fired for it?  Did the Register post your mistake in the paper for all to see and judge?  My guess is, probably not.  Get off your high horse people.  This is simply ridiculous.

By the way, if you want a crooked cop to write about, I could give you some names and some stories.  Unfortunately for those of you jumping to have him beheaded, Officer Constante is not one of them.

jethro

Never said he should be fired, never said he wasn't a good cop, it's just that there are double standards at the SPD. EVERY Police Officer should be treated the same and they ARE NOT! This is a perfect example.....One gets fired for lying because he isn't liked, another doesn't because he is liked.  Makes no sense!

sanduskysteve

This is to those of you who believe it simply made a mistake and the register is trying to ruin him.....

The register is reporting an incident which has created a common thread in this offier's past.  Yes, it could have been a mistake - this isn't the issue here - this is the second time this officer made the same "mistake" and it happened again after he was warned about the previous "mistake".

The issue is also, that one mistake lead to a second "mistake" for the same incident!!!

The SPD has policy - this policy is to be upheld by all officers - I'm sure there will be those who will argue this as well, but there isn't an argument really - every officer should be held to the same policy and the same rules and regulations.  This officer not only made a "mistake" on his report, but then while correcting the mistake, which by the way, he denied making at first, he violated SPD policy and regulations yet a second time in the method he used to correct his mistake.

The fact, that he corrected the mistake in a way which would "cover up" the mistake, speaks volumes about whether this was really a mistake at all.  Another lie.

You republicans sat around and wanted to impeach (screaming loudly and wildly) for "lying to the american people" but when it comes to a cop lying to the public, that's just a mistake and he should be excused for this.

This officer doesn't understand the difference between following policy and just doing whatever he wants to do - right or wrong.

SitandSpin

Maybe the SPD should give Ex-Trooper Wlodarsky another chance......Afterall birds of a feather flock together, he would fit in perfectly on Meigs Street ! 

stepham2009

 TAXPAYER 

Since you SEEM to KNOW EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING why don't YOU become a cop and see how hard the job is...the danger involved, the hours worked, the BS from people like you these officers put up with DAILY.....but then again YOU probably couldn't add 1+1 without counting on your fingers

44870 South

 ????? What are these comments????? People - the guy made a mistake. I mean some of you are calling into question everything from his character to his IQ. Seriously??? Such disregard. These cops put their well-being on the line EVERYDAY. One brave, young SPD officer gave his life doing just that - NOT EVEN A YEAR AGO! I imagine the job is stressful enough. You've never made a mistake while doing your job before? Who knows what was going through this officer's mind at the moment he was dealing with the IDIOT yelling outside the courthouse. So he misidentified another officer. The correction was made. He didn't follow the correct policy of correcting the mistake on paper, which was addressed by his superior. It was dealt with. So, why is this a huge story? 

 This officer is not a criminal. 

Good Grief.

excel

Gotta love the “I’m not losing my family and home for whatever personal gain would come of it.” Nothing about I swore to uphold a sacred oath and would never sacrafice my dignity. 

czechurself

So let me get this straight, Costante attacks the character and integrity of Sigsworth in an official police report, while attempting to maintain his own integrity by 'stepping in' and handling the incident, and then goes on to verbally attack Sigsworth in a private meeting with other LE in an official meeting that other LE report back to Sigsworth, all to find out that the real officer in question is Pfeiffer, but Pfeiffer maintains his integrity by suggesting that there was a no real situation as he observed it, which leads one to understand that either Costante was purposefully attacking the integrity of another agency, or Pfeiffer was negligent in his duty, or this was a trumped up situation. However, then after Costante is reprimanded goes back and breaks policy by erasing information on an official report and inserts the new officers name.  Ewww, that's sticky...it does make you wonder....But,

Should he be fired?  Thats harsh.  Was repremanding him enough for making the same mistake twice?  I dont know...  But thanks to the Register, whether you agree with the intent to printing this story, Costante is being held accountable by public opinion, and thats rough.  

sanduskysteve

@czechurself - that's the point of it all - thank you.  Apparently 44870 can't seem to understand the whole situation here.  The officer who lost his life is not a part of this and didn't deserve to lose his life for whatever reason.  And to do this to the officer that previously shown his ability to follow the rules in the drunk driving case shows his ability to be honest.

I'm sure that the drunk officer would have loved to have had SPD arrive at the scene first - maybe he would have gotten away with blaming the girl for driving.  Or at least it would have been in the oficial police report that way.

Sad, sad, sad. The SR had the right to publish this story just as they did - it IS news, the same old news repeated once again, but it IS news.

Julie R.

I can see maybe giving this officer the benefit of the doubt the first time when he mistakenly placed Diedre Cole at the scene of an incident that involved police --- but the same mistake AGAIN?   

summergrl

This would have never made the paper IF a cop didn't repeat what he/she heard at the FOP meeting.

summergrl

This would have never made the paper IF a cop didn't repeat what he/she heard at the FOP meeting.

Sue Meredith

Gee I wonder who called the SR to give them the heads up about this. After all, the reporters aren't mind readers. Someone obviously tipped them off.

sandusky truth

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal information. Discussion Guidelines

thinktwice

Seriously doubt he meant anything by this and it was a mistake. But of course he's a cop, he wears a badge so he's invincible, all knowing, perfect in every way shape and form. (Or so the general public has misidentified him while passing by at 60 in a 35 or from a quick glimpse after having your rights  read after bashing someones head in.  it's all crystal clear from 100 yards right? That kind of standard exists only if your a cop.

 

SUPPORT your local Police and Fire. Think of it as insurance for when all hell breaks loose.

fed.up

Ofc. Costante is a very upstanding citizen who's integrity is second to none.  His only flaw is having to deal with the citizens of Sandusky, who think they are better than anyone and can do no wrong.  You people are so quick to judge on things you know nothing about except what you read in the SR.  Like I have always said they get their training from the National Enquirer.  Everyone who lives in Sandusky should be grateful they have someone like Ofc. Costante looking out for them.  GOD BLESS YOU ERIC.

Marcus M

Anyone can make a mistake, but twice misidentify people who happen to running for political office, that's disturbing.  As a police officer you never change the original report, if a correction is needed, a supplemental report should be done to make any needed corrections or additions.  Going to the FOP meeting and making these comments about the incident, very unprofessional, maybe Officer Constante should be given additional training on incident handling and report writing and use common sense in the further when he is spreading false rumors.  Now for Chief Lang, why would a supervisor expose what is clearly a very inexperienced officer to the Registerag who is clearly anti SPD and law enforcement in general, the only answer to cover his own butt.  Give them the reports, all of them, give a written explanation and move on, clearly Chief Lang is in over his head. 

snowlady

Don't know this officer, but, I agree with Jethro,,,,,there are definately double standards on discipline, just ask Jaimie DeSalle.

Taxpayer

"Ofc. Constante is a very upstanding citizen who's INTEGRITY is second to none."  Ha! Ha!  Yeah, YOU remember that when there is an open court trial for a major crime, like MURDER, and he is called to testify.  We will SEE just how all that INTEGRITY will work out.  Every defense attorney will call his INTEGRITY to question in front of the jury and we shall see just how truthful he is.  Here is a tip.  If I had a case to present to the grand jury and prosecutor's office, this officer will be the very LAST person I want on my side.  In fact, I would do everything to avoid having him on record as a witness.  His performance and ability to tell the truth is contaminated and disgraceful.  Not only is his conduct on record blistered and damaged, there is risk it will spill over to the entire department.  Such conduct will tarnish everyone.  Go ahead and try to win a conviction with a jury of your peers and have him get into the box under oath.  He will be torn apart as a LIAR and his inability to be a fair and accurate witness will be questioned.  He will be displayed so the jury can see all that "upstanding" INTEGRITY second to none.  Ha! Ha!  It is the typical, liberal FOP UNION belief that ALL are wonderful and without corruption.  "Oh, we must give him ANOTHER chance.  We must open our arms in friendship.  He is being picked on.  They do not get paid enough."  So, the liberal premise is more pay will get truthfulness?  Or is it the liberal, "More money for more FAILURE?"  We will see just how the FOP UNION will protect any officer while on the stand to testify and explain all that integrity.  All LE officers should KNOW their past performance record will be examined under scrutiny by ANY defense lawyer in a major crime trial or by any local newspaper.  If you are corrupt and about to be eviscerated on the witness stand, I am sure that UNION protection will continue to help you.  Ha! Ha!  I do know all the officers who are corrupt, resigned, fired or forced to retire all started out as aggressive and "save the world" individuals with an honest mission statement and integrity.  I wonder what caused ALL this corruption?  The rich?  No?  Wall St.?  No?  It must be Nuesse!  No?  It must be Bush!  No?  I wonder what is the common denominator these bad apples from ALL the area LE agencies share among each other?                  

czechurself

I hate to admit Taxpayer makes good sense all the way down to second  Ha! Ha!,  then it gets blurry and I feel a sense of deja vue come over me

Julie R.

The same mistake TWICE? There's an old saying that just might apply here: 

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Amerian Dad

Question, when the Sandusky Resigeter makes multiple mistakes, does the reporter and the editor go through the ringer as this officer has?..answer, NO!... When a line worker at KBI or Visteon makes multiple mistakes, is it news worthy?.. Answer, NO!  When BMV makes mulitple mistakes with peoples driving staus', is it Sandusky Regsiter news worthy?  Answer, NO!  

For those of you who want to bash Ofc. Costante and have never done his job, I say typical.  I happen to know this young man personaly and he is a good person and a good Police Officer.  Those of you who don't do the job wound't understand. 

For those of you who love to critisize (Taxpayer), I find it amusing.  See I know people who know you and you are far wihout fault and without making mistakes. 

Here's my question to the Sandusky Register.  Would you be so inclined to print Ofc. Costante's accomplishments?  When he was part of a team responsibile for finding  a lost child? When he talked with teen age students about the importants of staying away from gangs? About him mentoring teen age kids? About being a part of a team who conducted a raid on a felon"s residence that yielded major drugs and firearms? How about his dedication to a Faternal Organization that gives thousands of dollars back to the community?  Answer, No!

For you the citizen that is so eager to bash him, it's easy for you.  He has a Thankless job, a Heart job.  He doesn't do it for the money, he does it because he wants to! Maybe your attitudes will change when Ofc. Costante shows up at your door and helps you in your time of need.  Not because he has too but because he has chosen one of the most honorable professions and wants to. 

God Bless you Ofc. Costante and be safe!

 

 

Marcus M

American Dad, I am very pro law enforcement, does Officer Costante need additional training and maturity which might help him become a better police officer?  To answer your question,  can a mistake by the Register who by the way I am not a fan of or KBI/ Visteon cost an innocent person their civil liberties by being incarcerated?

ReallyGood

Well well well, American Dad. I have to agree. After all, what happened to the story that the SR posted on Thanksgiving about the Toth family in need for the holiday season?? They made one HUGE mistake by posting a story about a family in need when clearly...this family was the absolute worst example to use. But what happens? They don't have to face the redicule that Costante is facing...they just went ahead and took the story down. Shame shame shame

czechurself

Costante made an error in identifying an official twice.  The entire incident could have been swept under the rug, as we say, except that Costante himself made statements to other officers at an FOP meeting that brought the entire situation to light. 

A man speaking loudly outside the court house is really no situation at all, frankly.  Not one that required "backup" anyway.  It was a situation that was handled rather simply by officer Costante giving the man, who then left, a verbal warning.  So I am wondering what Costante's intentions were to bring this very small incident to everyone's attention if not to have other officers call Sigworth into question.  

Costante may have been a decent officer in that he has assisted in some details of greater importance.  And misidentifying a person is a small error.  But that is not really even the cause for peoples alarm in this case.  It is the way he presented it and handled it thereafter. 

Through his own doing, some of his own peers and other agencies will be calling Costante's character into question. The question is, what was his motivation for calling out Sigworth in the FOP meeting other than in an attempt to smear on an officers integrity. Then to brake policy in order to correct an official police report...That is a mistake that can be detrimental to the entire agency if the same method is used in official reports that might one day be used in court cases.    

 Whether the SR had printed a story or not, Costante has damaged his own reputation.