|Unlucky stars? A 23 year veteran of the Niagara Falls Police Force, Kelly Alcorn went to a concert, wound up in a fight and now faces the potential end of her police career. If convicted of a felony charge, it will mean an
automatic termination of her ($90,000 plus) job.
August 25, 2012 was a bad day for Niagara Falls police officer Kelly L. Alcorn. It was supposed to be a pleasant one when the 47 year-old off duty officer went with a friend to the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, where country singer Jason Aldean was performing.
While there, Alcorn, a 23-year veteran of the police force, got into an altercation with Elizabeth R. Dake, 45, of Farmington, NY, a woman who is married to a state trooper.
The stories conflict, but Alcorn was initially arrested on a Class B misdemeanor charge of second-degree harassment. Later the charge went from harassment to misdemeanor third-degree assault. Dake contacted the Genessee County District Attorney's Office and requested a more serious felony charge be levied against Alcorn. It has gone before a grand jury and she was indicted on felony charges of assault.
Dake said she suffered a concussion and bruises, and missed nine days of work.
According to court documents, and initial reports, the incident appeared to involve at least four women. It may have escalated after Dake intervened on behalf of a woman Alcorn was yelling at, according to her initial statement, for cutting in line.
Dake reportedly told Alcorn to relax and stop yelling.
Alcorn allegedly turned on Dake, punched her and threw her against a bathroom wall.
Dake fell and Alcorn allegedly kept hitting her after she was down.
One witness reportedly told Genesee County Sheriff Deputy Lonnie Nati that Alcorn was "flailing her arms like a windmill throwing wild punches." Another witness said Alcorn used a closed fist to strike Dake.
Also arrested that night was Karen M. Walker, 35, of Niagara Falls, on a charge of second-degree harassment. Walker allegedly hit another patron who tried to stop Alcorn from hitting Dake.
Dake wrote a letter to the Niagara Falls Police Department and the Buffalo News describing the incident as "a brutal and merciless attack."
In her letter she said Alcorn grabbed her by the hair, pulled her arms behind her back, slammed her head into a cement wall and punched her in the head, neck, arm and back.
After she was down, Alcorn continued punching her and slammed her into the cement bathroom wall and did not stop until her husband, a state trooper, came to the scene and yelled at Alcorn to get off his wife.
Alcorn, while not commenting to the press about this matter, has given an entirely different version to police suggesting that Dake was the aggressor.
Presently, Alcorn is suspended from her job with pay pending an internal investigation by the Niagara Falls Police Department and the disposition of the court case against her.
Niagara Falls Police Chief Bryan DalPorto told the Reporter that depending on the internal investigation and the results of the pending criminal case, Alcorn may be reinstated, even if she pleads to a misdemeanor. A felony conviction against Alcron will end her law enforcement career.
Alcorn’s 2012 salary was more than $91,000 in 2012, a substantial amount of it coming from overtime.
"We expect all our officers to hold to the highest standards of integrity" the chief said, adding that he knew Alcorn for years and said that she has always been a good police officer.
At one point, according to sources, the Genesee County District Attorney’s Office offered a misdemeanor plea deal, which Alcorn rejected. Now facing a felony charge, she might have cause to regret it since following the rejection of the plea, prosecutors took the case to a grand jury to pursue a felony charge.
DalPorto said that they have interviewed "all parties involved and are in the final stages of completing an internal and independent investigation of the incident.”
While Dake suffered injuries, it remains unclear who is the victim here and in what degree.
A jury may ultimately have to decide if Alcorn is guilty and a police investigation will determine whether she has the temperament to continue to be a police officer.
In any event, on August 25 last year, a fateful day or rather hour occurred in the life of Kelly Alcorn, a woman who otherwise spent 23 years on the police force without a noticeable blemish, and perhaps performed with admirable skill.
Now, unlike her accuser, her fate hangs in the balance.