THE NATIONAL EPIDEMIC OF DRUNK AND DRUGGED UP COPS, AND THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DOES NOTHING TO STOP IT.
Hazlet, New Jersey: An officer in training was charged with driving while intoxicated after a car accident. He allegedly struck three cars parked in a driveway. ow.ly/jIvMi
Lorain, Ohio: An officer was suspended without pay for two, 12-hour shifts this year in connection with an incident involving a DUI accident. He refused to take a field sobriety test at the scene, and was cited for failure to control and driving under the influence. ow.ly/jI3wV
Waikiki, Hawaii: An officer was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, and has been placed on restricted duty in the police department’s specialized services division. ow.ly/jGein
Louisville, Kentucky: A grand jury indicted an officer on charges of wanton endangerment, official misconduct, and driving while under the influence. The officer admitted that he had been drinking and initially lied to police officers when he claimed he wasn’t driving the car. ow.ly/jGdOc
Update: McAllen, Texas (First reported 03-07-13): A seventh former deputy of a sheriff’s department appeared in court on drug conspiracy charges in a federal investigation. He is the latest member of the department who prosecutors say helped steal or protect drugs to be resold by a trafficker. ow.ly/jHUl0
Ottawa, Kansas: A sheriff has been accused of tipping off his lover about a meth investigation. The sheriff and his lawyer say the allegations are untrue. The prosecutor wrote that he “willfully engaged in misconduct while in office.” http://ow.ly/jFx3j
Blytheville, Arkansas: A Criminal Investigation Division officer was arrested after an incident at a bar which resulted in public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges. He is on administrative leave as a result of the charges, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. ow.ly/jFnm2
State Police sergeant arrested, charged with drug distribution
MONROE—An eighteen-year veteran State Police sergeant was arrested Monday by troopers from the agency's Bureau of Investigation and charged him with a variety of criminal violations including narcotics distribution, according to Superintendent of State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson.
Edmonson disclosed the details of the arrest after flying to Monroe Tuesday afternoon to personally take possession of the sergeant's badge, credentials and state-issued weapon. At the time of his arrest, Thomas was immediately suspended from duty pending the outcome of an administrative investigation.
Troopers arrested 42-year-old Ronald Thomas of Monroe without incident Monday afternoon and booked him into the Ouachita Parish Jail Monday evening where he is still being held. Prior to his arrest Thomas had been assigned as the evidence custodian for northern Louisiana investigative operations.
After consulting with District Attorney Jerry Jones and his staff, Thomas was charged with payroll fraud, malfeasance in office, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine, and obstruction of justice.
Edmonson said that several months ago, information was developed during the course of another investigation suggesting Thomas' possible involvement in illegal activity. After months of accumulating evidence in furtherance of the allegations troopers moved quickly Monday to make arrests. Troopers executed a search warrant on Thomas' property and seized nearly $50,000 in cash and a stolen weapon. Other items have also been seized and are currently being processed.
"I want to emphasize that it was State Police troopers who learned of Thomas' misconduct, it was troopers who aggressively pursued this high priority investigation, and it was troopers who arrested the sergeant and booked him. We have no reluctance whatsoever identifying police misconduct and taking appropriate action, even if it happens to be one of our own officers," Edmonson said.
"Thomas has dishonored his oath, his organization and more importantly the community he swore to protect. We will push for the strongest possible punishment," Edmonson said.
Investigators also arrested 38-year-old Leonard Dunn of Monroe. Dunn was charged with 3 counts of distribution of marijuana and 1 count of distribution of hydrocodone. Thomas apparently had conspired with Dunn to sell large quantities of cocaine in northeast Louisiana. Thomas also apparently made attempts to warn Dunn that he was being investigated and instructed Dunn to destroy evidence and dispose of money.
"Our work is not yet done. This investigation continues to evolve and other arrests are possible. While we have no reason to believe that any other troopers are involved, we will nevertheless go wherever the facts take us. We will be unrelenting in pursuing anyone else who might have been involved in the illegal activities," Edmonson said.
While drug evidence was utilized in furtherance of this criminal investigation, no State Police cases have been compromised as those evidentiary items were from fully adjudicated cases and the evidence had been set aside for destruction, according to investigators.
"We are confident that no on-going criminal cases awaiting trial have been affected by Thomas' misconduct. We have also ordered an immediate inventory of the evidence most recently under Thomas' supervision and control. That inventory will be conducted by personnel from the State Police Crime Lab. I have also directed a thorough a review of internal procedures to address any potential vulnerabilities in our evidence system," Edmonson said.
If convicted on all charges Thomas faces up to a $76,000 fine and 92 years in prison. If convicted on all charges Dunn faces up to a $65,000 and 40 years in prison
Officer Charged in Robberies of Drug Dealers
The officer, Jose Tejada, 45, is accused of taking part in three robberies or attempted robberies in 2006 and 2007, while he was assigned to Harlem and in uniform, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday. He also supplied the crew with police uniforms, paraphernalia and police vehicles, the authorities said. He is charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to distribute drugs and unlawful use of a firearm.
Officer Tejada, the police said, was arrested as part of an “ongoing Internal Affairs Bureau investigation.” He is the second officer with the department charged in the more than 100 robberies of drug dealers that began in 2001 and that “netted more than 250 kilograms of cocaine and $1 million in narcotics proceeds,” according to prosecutors. He has been suspended from the department, a spokesman said.
Emmanuel Tavarez, 33, who joined the department in 2002, was sentenced to 25 years in prison last May for his role in the same crew, court documents show. An auxiliary officer, and 21 other members of the crew, have also been arrested, according to the documents.
The police spokesman declined to provide any further information on the investigation.
Prosecutors said Officer Tejada used his status to demand access to a home in the Bronx that he believed housed drug dealers and their supply. In fact, an innocent family of three lived there, prosecutors said, and they were held at gunpoint while Officer Tejada and two others searched their home. They called 911, according to the court documents, to report what had happened.
Wolford suspended for 24 hours; Police officer disciplined for crash, not paid for two, 12-hour shifts
LORAIN — Police Officer James Wolford was suspended without pay for two, 12-hour shifts this year in connection with an incident in December 2011, according to police records.
Wolford violated Lorain Police Department standards of conduct for the incident, and he was to serve the suspension on Feb. 21 and 22, according to a disciplinary letter from Lorain police Chief Cel Rivera.
On Dec. 20, 2011, Wolford crashed into an Ohio Edison van parked near his Oak Drive home in Lorain. He refused to take a sobriety test on scene and later at the station. Witnesses testified at a hearing that he smelled of alcohol and had an unsteady gait. Wolford was cited for failure to control and driving under the influence, according to police records. In July 2012 Wolford pleaded no contest and was found guilty of reduced charges — a physical control violation and failure to control, according to court records.
Wolford also was fined $1,239 and was required to attend a three-day educational program on drinking and driving and to be on probation for a year, according to court records. The failure to control charge carried a $150 fine and two points on his driver’s license.
Wolford was placed on a temporary administrative license suspension and did desk duty after the incident, police have said.
The work disciplinary action took place this year because Wolford was on extended family medical leave and the disciplinary action was delayed until his return to duty, Rivera wrote. His predisciplinary hearing was Jan. 21. Wolford has had several other run-ins with the law while on the Lorain police force.
In January of 2011, Wolford was suspended for six days for making false accusations against a superior officer, Capt. James McCann has said. In 2009, Wolford was demoted from sergeant to patrolman and suspended for 25 days after the department had received citizen and internal complaints, revealing multiple violations. While handling a domestic violence complaint between a mother and her son in October 2007, Wolford told the 17-year-old boy “if you were my (expletive) son I would hit you upside the head with a two-by-four,” according to a letter from then Lorain Safety Director Phil Dore to Wolford.