Schenectady cop arrested after allegedly fleeing traffic stop
Cop is charged with fleeing after he was pulled over in car
By Paul Nelson
An off-duty patrolman is on unpaid leave and facing a misdemeanor charge after allegedly driving away from a traffic stop as another officer approached his vehicle at 1:15 a.m. Friday in the Bellevue neighborhood, according to the department.
Officer Aaron Zampella, a second-generation cop with five years on the job, was pulled over for speeding in a Nissan Maxima near 797 Broadway, police said. The car was spotted a short time later and police pulled him over again, but he was not taken into custody.
Zampella surrendered later Friday to police and was charged with one count of fleeing of a police officer in a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and imprudent speed, a traffic violation.
The department said alcohol was not involved and the Office of Professional Standards is conducting an internal probe that could result in additional disciplinary action.
Zampella was released on an appearance ticket and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.
Zampella has over the past few years primarily worked the patrol detail in the Bellevue area where he lives.
Councilman Vince Riggi, who also lives in Bellevue, said he was stunned to learn about Zampellas' run-in with the law.
"He's been the best zone officer Bellevue has ever had and really cares about quality-of-life issues," said Riggi. "He's conscientious, he keeps me abreast of all the activities in the community and takes the job very seriously, and I hope this works out for him so we can get him back out on the street."
In July 2011, when he was 22, Zampella told the Times Union that joining the police force "had been a dream for my entire life and something I've been striving for." Zampella , who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, said he was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his father, Arthur Zampella, who retired in 2009 after more than three decades with the department.