Police: Out-of-shape officer candidate uses friend to take physical test

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Justin Payne would do anything to become a cop. It turns out that even means breaking the law.

And now, he’ll likely never be closer to law enforcement than he was Monday, still in jail on misdemeanor charges.

“He attempted to defraud a government agency, so he’s pretty much out of consideration for being hired,” said Buffalo Police Lt. Jeff Rinaldo.

Payne was one of hundreds of people who showed up earlier this year to take the written exam to become an officer with the city of Buffalo.

But at 260 lbs., police said he wasn’t quite fit enough for the requirements of the physical test, taken on a different day and at a different place.

So he allegedly had another man take that portion.

“We do fingerprints not only at the written exam, we also do them at the physical agility exam, and we also do photographs at the physical agility exam,” Rinaldo said. “So why someone thought that they could get away with it, I’m not quite sure. But it didn’t work.”

Almost, had it not been for a simple, but important mistake.

“When the person appeared for the physical agility exam, there’s a series of documents they have to fill out,” Rinaldo said. “On one of the documents, the individual had put all the information for the test taker on the form, but then inadvertently wrote his first and last name at the bottom of the form. ))

When the civil service office went back to check through names and information, two didn’t match up. Fingerprints — taken at both the physical and written test locations — confirmed their suspicion.

“The position of a police officer is a huge trust position for the community, and when you have somebody that, from the very beginning stages trying to defraud that trust, it’s not a good sign,” Rinaldo said. “And who knows what their motivation was. Was it truly because he knew he couldn’t pass the PT test, or did he have other intentions, and that’s why he was seeking the job.”

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