A Hudson Valley police officer is accused of using his badge to try and cover up his alleged crimes.

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The Town of New Windsor Police Department arrested 41-year-old Carlos Mendez of Middletown following an investigation into a hit
and run motor vehicle crash. The crash involved multiple parked cars in a parking lot off of State Route 300 in New Windsor, no one was injured in the crash, police say.

Police found the suspect's car and driver several miles away after it had fled the scene, officials say.

As part of the investigation, officers found the driver, Mendez, allegedly in possession of illegal drugs. Mendez, a City of Newburgh police officer, identified himself as a police officer and he stated that he was in possession of the substances in his official capacity as a police officer, according to the New Windsor Police Department.

A further investigation determined Mendez did not legally possess the substances as part of his police authority and lab confirmation determined that the substances were cocaine and a hallucinogenic drug known as MDMA, police say.

“Every police officer takes an oath of office when they are appointed to their position and when that oath is violated, it falls upon other police officers to hold the line and do what is right. That is exactly what happened in this case. No one is above the law, especially police officers," New Windsor Police Chief Robert Doss stated. "I commend the New Windsor police officers that investigated this complaint to its fullest extent and I would expect nothing less from them.”

Mendez was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 4th degree, a felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree, official misconduct, misdemeanors, and a traffic infraction for leaving the scene of a property damage motor vehicle accident.

He was released as required by state law with no bail and a mandatory appearance ticket to appear in town court on October 13.

“It is always disappointing when there is an allegation that a police officer has engaged in criminal conduct, and even more so when it is alleged that an officer has used his badge to attempt to hide from his crimes. No one is above the law," Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said. When allegations of criminal police misconduct are made, they must be diligently investigated and acted upon.”