Watertown has been in media chaos since Officer VanWaldick kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, shot a man in the chest several times, and became the subject of a manhunt in December of 2004. What made it a NATIONAL scandal and opened the city to lawsuits was that Watertown police were already aware that VanWaldick had serious problems before he committed this more noticed set of crimes. The scandal was that his past domestic violence acts had been effectively pushed under the rug by his department.
For example, just a couple of days before the shooting VanWaldick called in sick, came to his ex-girlfriend's JOB, and threatened to kill her and himself. Plenty of police came to the scene - using cell phones instead of police radios, not talking to the victim, letting it all just blend into the another day in Watertown. Now he's sentenced to 15 years and people's lives are changed. Covering for his past acts was no favor. He could be getting help while working a new job instead.
Because of a complaint filed by a city council member the New York State Commission of Investigation probed and reported on the incident.