State Police: Trooper’s 2021 death at Great Sacandaga Lake ruled accident; Member removed from dive team

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Trooper James J. Monda – Credit: New York State Police

GREAT SACANDAGA LAKE — A year after the death of New York State Police officer James J. Monda, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant, officials have confirmed the officer’s death was ruled an accident and that a member of the state police dive team was removed from the squad following the incident.

“The investigation determined that a member of the State Police Underwater Recovery Team (URT) allowed Sergeant Monda to use his dive gear in violation of State Police regulations,” said William Duffy, director of public information for state police. “Sergeant Monda was not a member of the URT, and was not trained in the use of state police diving equipment.”

Monda, a member of a marine patrol in Princetown’s Troop G, died Aug. 22, 2021 working a marine detail on Great Sacandaga Lake. He was in the water on Bunker Hill Road in Northampton at about 4 p.m. and was pulled from the water after he did not resurface. He was pronounced dead at 6 p.m. at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville.

Monda died of asphyxia due to drowning, according to an article published Tuesday by The Post Star in Glens Falls.

Duffy confirmed Wednesday the underwater recovery team officer’s name was not released in a Freedom of Information Law request received by the Post Star.

“I can confirm that the member who allowed Trooper Monda to use the gear is no longer with the Underwater Recovery Team, and was suspended 14-days without pay,” Duffy said. “We are not releasing the trooper’s name since it was determined there was no criminality.”

According to The Post Star, a large portion of the documents they received were redacted “to prevent an unwarranted invasion of privacy” and other sections were made unavailable because they were considered intra-agency material, making them exempt from disclosure. 

Monda was a native of the Schenectady County area who graduated from Mohonasen High School in 1993. He was survived by his fiancée, his mother and father, state police said.

He joined the state police in September 2002 and, except for a year assigned to the North Country, served his entire tenure with Troop G, the troop that covers the Capital Region. He had most recently been assigned to the Princetown barracks.

His time included assignments to the New York State Fair in Syracuse, a selective assignment. In 2017, he was selected for the marine patrol unit over other qualified candidates. That unit works in rescues, assisting boaters and enforcing laws and regulations on the water, officials had said.

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By Shenandoah Briere

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