Weldon Drayton

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

Suffolk County Police Officer, Volunteer Firefighter Weldon Drayton Accused Of Arson

June 14, 2018 - 8:09 pm

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- A Suffolk County police officer and volunteer firefighter is accused of setting a fire to an abandoned house.

In 2016, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini stood next to Officer Weldon Drayton and helped present him with a top cop award for DWI arrests, but at the courthouse in Riverhead Thursday Sini had a much different tone. He stood behind Drayton as he was charged with arson for a fire to an abandoned house in Central Islip last year.

"Drayton had hand-picked this particular house to be a target of arson as it was unoccupied and within the jurisdiction of his company -- Co. 2 in the Central Islip Fire Department. It is alleged that the fire was set so that Drayton would be the first to respond thereby increasing his stature within the fire department or as they would say to get salty," Sini said.

Sini said Drayton was indicted along with another volunteer firefighter from Central Islip, who is accused of setting five fires, including one on Vanderbilt Avenue with Drayton.

"On the day of the crime, Drayton acted as a lookout patrolling the area in his personal car while another individual set fire to the home but he didn't stop there. Following the completion of the scheme Drayton allegedly deleted cell phone data in an attempt to cover up the plan to commit this arson," Sini said.

All five homes were foreclosed "zombie homes." 

"It is but by the grace of God that no one was hurt in these fires, but that does not excuse his behavior," Sini said. 

The police commissioner said in a statement that Drayton was suspended from the force. 

"The Suffolk County Police Department has suspended Officer Weldon Drayton effective immediately. We hold our personnel to the highest moral and ethical standards. We will not tolerate criminal conduct by our members. The department worked in a collaborative manner with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office throughout this investigation," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said in a statement.

Drayton pleaded not guilty.

The judge allowed Drayton to be released and not held on bail.

Drayton did not speak as he walked out of the courthouse.

He faces 15 years in prison if convicted.