Embattled Police Captain Reaches Retirement Agreement with Borough
Fair Lawn police Capt. Joseph Cook, the target of multiple lawsuits and a 2012 internal affairs investigation, has retired, effective Thursday.
Fair Lawn police Capt. Joseph Cook, who faced administrative charges stemming from an internal affairs investigation last year, retired Thursday rather than fight the matter before the Office of Administrative Law in Newark, his attorney Patrick Toscano said.
The borough placed Cook on paid administrative leave last June and brought administrative charges against him in early July. At the time, Toscano said Cook was given two options upon his return to the department: accept a demotion to Lieutenant or take a suspension.
Cook, who maintains his innocence, returned to his previous job within the department following the investigation. He initially sought a court hearing rather than agree to either of the borough's options, but after months of negotiations, instead worked out a retirement agreement with the borough.
"There was no need to go to the OAL to try the administrative matter, as all matters concerning my client were settled to Captain Cook and the governing body's complete satisfaction," Toscano wrote in an email to Patch.
While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Toscano said he was "exceedingly and entirely satisfied" by the outcome.
Borough manager Tom Metzler and Mayor John Cosgrove confirmed Cook's departure, but declined comment on its terms.
“I wish Officer Cook well and I’m looking forward to the department moving forward," said Cosgrove, who campaigned on improving police department morale when he ran for council in 2011.
Metzler spoke highly of Cook's police work and wished him well in his retirement. He recalled being with Cook the day the future captain learned he'd been offered a job as a patrolman in 1986.
"I was with him the day he got his letter from the police department offering him a job...and I took the resignation letter from him," said Metzler, who was best friends with Cook's father. "I was there the first day and the last day of his career."
Cook earned an annual salary of $153,382 in 2012.