Visiting foreign dignitaries were alarmed when New York’s director of homeland security pulled out a handgun and used its laser sighting device as a pointer during a presentation late last year.
The incident happened Oct. 24 but was only reported Monday by the Albany Times Union.
Public officials told the newspaper that Jerome Hauer used the improvised laser pointer during a presentation on the state’s response to Superstorm Sandy at the highly secure state emergency operations center beneath state police headquarters.
He even tracked the laser across a visiting Swedish emergency manager’s forehead before finding the New York map he wanted, the officials said.
The newspaper reported that Hauer was disabled several years ago by a stroke and can be unsteady at times.
The state commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services also carries the loaded 9-millimeter Glock handgun in a holster into state buildings, witnesses told the paper, in apparent violation of the law prohibiting state employees from bringing weapons to work.
Hauer is not a law enforcement officer, although he is licensed to carry a gun in Albany and New York City, but his spokesman wasn’t sure if he was authorized to carry a firearm into state offices.
An aide for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the matter would be investigated but declined further comment.
Hauer’s spokesman said he’d heard rumors about the incident and promised to look into it.
The paper reported that no one, including Hauer, had denied the incident.