By Alex Rose, Delaware County Daily Times
MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A former police officer and treasurer of the Chichester Baseball League pleaded no contest to one count of theft by unlawful taking Tuesday for stealing more than $12,000 from the league between 2009 and 2011.
John Rapp, 44, of Concord, was arrested in February for making more than $5,000 worth of unauthorized purchases with the league’s debit card at Harrah’s, the Renaissance Faire, Wawa and Giant Food Stores, as well as $7,000 in thefts from checks intended to go to umpire fees.
All told, Rapp stole $12,480.23 from the league between October 2009 and October 2011, according to an affidavit of probable cause. He was found out after James Cassidy took over as treasurer in late 2011 and quickly discovered some bookkeeping irregularities.
After some internal investigation, Rapp was brought before members of the CBL executive committee in February 2012, where he allegedly admitted to making unauthorized debit card transactions. He paid $5,387.74 back the league at that time.
The Delaware County District Attorney’s office launched its own investigation and discovered an additional $7,092.50 in missing funds. That money concerned payments to umpires, which had previously been made by check.
Investigators found that after taking over the treasurer position, Rapp began writing checks out to “cash,” then paying umpires from those transactions while taking a cut for himself.
Rapp, who worked as an Aston police officer for 19 years, as well as a part-time Bethel officer and a corrections officer at the county prison, claimed in February that he did not know about the additional missing funds until one week before his arraignment in Linwood.
Defense attorney Russell Carmichael said Tuesday that his client simply wanted to put the incident behind him and that he did not expect to ever see Rapp on the wrong side of the law again.
“He’s already made restitution in excess of $5,000 when he realized there was something wrong with the books at the CBL while under his supervision,” said Carmichael. “This is an anomaly in his life. I don’t think anything like it is likely to reoccur.”
Both Carmichael and Assistant District Attorney Brian Dougherty asked the judge to sentence within the standard range. Dougherty noted some members of the league were present, but did not wish to speak.
“My gut says seven years in prison,” Judge John Capuzzi told Rapp before handing down his sentence. “But I know legally I can’t do that, and I also know it’s not going to benefit society and I know it’s not going to help the little league recover the additional monies that are owed.”
Instead, Rapp was sentenced to two years of intermediate punishment, with the first 90 days to be served on electronic home monitoring. He was also given three years of consecutive probation, and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and to pay $3,000 in restitution.
Capuzzi, a former president of a little league, said he understands what the loss of money or equipment can mean to a team and that raising funds in this economic climate is not easy.
The judge added that while such clubs often do not have sufficient safeguards in place to prevent fraud, that does not excuse those who would exploit them.
Capuzzi also warned Rapp that if he violated any element of the sentence, he would be hauled back before the court and likely face a much harsher sentence. Rapp assured the judge that would not happen.
DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines police officer charged with domestic abuse is facing a lawsuit alleging he repeatedly punched a suspect who was on the ground.
The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/KjQ7dl ) reports that John Twombly alleges he was assaulted by officer Cody Grimes at Twombly's 2011 wedding reception.
A spokesman says Des Moines police investigated but found no wrongdoing by Grimes.
Grimes is charged with domestic abuse causing injury after an altercation with his ex-girlfriend.
Twombly's lawsuit alleges, Twombly was involved in an altercation with a groomsman at the reception. An off-duty officer who was providing security called Grimes for backup.
The lawsuit claims Grimes threw Twombly against a wall and took him to the floor, held his head and punched him.
Grimes admits he struck Twombly but says it was self-defense.
Wagoner Police officer Shalyn Jay has been arrested and charged with obstruction on allegations she provided false information to the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office during an investigation.
COVINGTON, La. (AP) — Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz says a lieutenant who arrested two high-school football referees in October has been suspended without pay and demoted to sergeant.
Lentz says Stephen Short must also pass an evaluation before he can return to work after the 10-day suspension, and cannot apply for promotion for 18 months.
Short has 15 days to appeal to the Civil Service Board. The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/19y7PVQ ) that his attorney, Michael Fawer, was not immediately available for comment Monday.
Short arrested the referees on a charge of public intimidation after they asked him to help move fans away from the field during the third quarter of a game between St. Paul's and Mandeville high schools. Prosecutors refused to press charges.
By Nick Grube
Hawaii’s politically powerful police union wants to intervene in a public records lawsuit in order to protect the identities of 12 Honolulu officers who were suspended for 20 days or more after committing serious acts of misconduct.
The union’s attorneys argue in court papers filed last week that they should be allowed to take part in the case because they have the best interests of the officers at heart, and that any release of personal information could have long-standing effects on the rest of the labor group’s membership.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO) represents about 2,000 police officers in all four counties, the majority of whom are on Oahu.
Civil Beat filed a lawsuit in November asking a judge to force the Honolulu Police Department to release the names and disciplinary files of a dozen officers who had been suspended for egregious misconduct between 2003 and 2012.
The legal action came after HPD denied a public records request for that information citing privacy concerns. The news organization believes the files should be public information under the state’s public records law, the Uniform Information Practices Act.
The city and HPD have already opposed the court action but SHOPO attorneys Vladimir Devens and Keani Alapa say that’s not good enough.
In documents filed Dec. 26, Alapa, a former HPD officer himself, argues that the union must insert itself in the case to “protect and preserve the privacy interests” of its members. The hope is the judge in the case will allow SHOPO to be a party to the lawsuit, therefore giving the union the opportunity to file legal briefs and argue in court.
“The potential precedent of an adverse order would negatively affect SHOPO’s entire membership,” Alapa wrote in the union’s Dec. 26 motion. “This is especially disconcerting because SHOPO’s Members would have no real say in this controversy if they are not allowed to intervene, despite their direct interest in the subject matter being disputed. It is essential that SHOPO be permitted to intervene now or it may forever lose its ability to challenge the attacks on its Member’s privacy interests now and in the future.”
Alapa also argues that the union gives the officers their best option for fighting the lawsuit, since the city and HPD will approach the lawsuit from a managerial standpoint and not as a labor organization that has the sole interest of sticking up for its members.
The city and HPD also have “certain duties to the general public” that will result in “unavoidable potential conflicts” when those duties are applied to specific officers.
“For example, in deciding whether to disclose certain privacy matters, HPD is required to balance the public’s interests to information with the privacy interests of its employees affected by the disclosure,” Alapa said. “In such circumstances, SHOPO is in a better position to provide a more dedicated representation for its Members.”
Civil Beat’s lawsuit stems from its five-part investigative series, In The Name Of The Law, that examined the secrecy surrounding police misconduct in Hawaii.
The series found that once a week on average a Honolulu police officer is suspended or discharged for misconduct. The series also found that many police officers who have committed serious misconduct — including criminal convictions — keep their badges due in large part to union grievance procedures.
Blanketing the whole disciplinary process, however, is a lack of transparency that leaves citizens guessing as to whether bad cops are properly punished for their misdeeds.
For all public employees except cops, the UIPA requires the disclosure of misconduct information after a suspension or a discharge. But in the 1990s, SHOPO was successful in getting the Legislature to carve out an exemption for suspended police officers. In a separate case, the Hawaii Supreme Court later ruled that police disciplinary records regarding officer misconduct should be public.
Neither Alapa or Devens returned phone calls seeking comment on their motion.
Bethlehem cop's alleged bar fights, drunken misconduct detailed in memo; claims unfounded, lawyer says
By Sarah M. Wojcik | The Express-Times
A Bethlehem police officer who’s been recommended for termination allegedly assaulted a Philadelphia cop and threatened the owner of a Bethlehem bar while off duty and in drunken stupors, according to a memo forwarded toBethlehem City Council.
The alleged incidents are in addition to criminal charges that Officer Richard Hoffman crashed his car while driving drunk in August, also while he was off duty.
They and other allegations of misconduct, some which the department’s upper brass say occurred while Hoffman was on duty, are outlined in an inter-departmental correspondence dated Dec. 20. The Express-Times obtained the correspondence today through a public records request.
The Bethlehem Police Department administration is requesting council move forward with a termination hearing for Hoffman, a 10-year veteran of the force. The correspondence, authored by city solicitor John Spirk Jr., presents the reasoning for the request.
Hoffman is facing DUI charges for a 3 a.m. Aug. 8 rollover crash where he allegedly had a 0.16 blood-alcohol content — twice the legal limit. According to the memo to council, Hoffman was due in to work at 6:45 a.m. that day.
Hoffman could not be reached for comment; his telephone number is disconnected.
Cop’s attorney says allegations unfounded
The allegations in the memo beyond the DUI crash are unfounded, according to Quint Tagilioli , the police union attorney who will be representing Hoffman if a termination hearing is to occur. Council has not yet publicly deliberated on whether to hold a hearing.
"We're denying the allegations set forth," Tagilioli said today. "Officer Hoffman will have his opportunity to offer a defense if and when council decides to hold a hearing."
Hoffman remains on paid administrative leave and is seeking to be entered into Northampton County’s first-time offender’s accelerated rehabilitative disposition program, or ARD, on the DUI charge.
Wade Haubert, president of the police union, expressed concern that Hoffman was being tried in the court of public opinion before getting a chance to offer a defense.
"He's not getting a fair shot," Haubert said.
The length of time it took for the internal investigation to wrap up and its release just prior to the city’s changing of administrations concerned Haubert.
"I do question the timeliness of the entire thing," he said. "It's unusual. But it will all be addressed and scrutinized during the hearing, including the qualifications and biases of those individuals in charge of the investigation."
Deputy police Chief Todd Repsher declined to comment on the allegations against Hoffman.
"I do not believe that it is appropriate for the administration to comment on the memo at this time out of fairness to Officer Hoffman," he wrote in an email.
Memo: Punished with written reprimand
The first record of Hoffman’s alleged incidents began in May 2005, according to the memo. While drinking at a Philadelphia bar, Hoffman argued with an on-duty city policeman, shoving and accosting the officer, the memo says.
After he was handcuffed and placed in a police cruiser, the memo says Hoffman began threatening the officer, saying he'd "bring 20 guys down here" to get the on-duty officer.
Philadelphia police used their own discretion not to charge Hoffman, according to the memo. Instead, they opted to let Bethlehem police handle the incident internally, the memo says. A Bethlehem police lieutenant had to drive to Philadelphia at about midnight to get Hoffman out of custody, according to the memo.
After the altercation, Hoffman was apologetic, according to the memo. He said the evening of drinking was "sort of a blur," the memo says.
Any repeat incident would mean he’d lose his job, Hoffman’s lieutenant told the officer, according the memo. Hoffman said he understood, the memo says.
Hoffman was issued a written reprimand for the altercation, according to the document.
Lt. John Stanford, a Philadelphia police spokesman, said he did not have specific information about the incident detailed in the memo but insisted the city treats any suspect the same.
"It doesn’t matter if you’re a cop or not," Stanford said.
Upper brass: Hoffman went unpunished
Hoffman was suspended for 10 days during one of the on-duty incidents detailed in the memo, but despite it being recommended, an April 2013 mishap went unpunished.
In April, the memo says, Hoffman was caught sending inappropriate messages to a city dispatcher through a police department program known as a Mobile Data Terminal. Hoffman was unaware that his messages were being received by others in the department, according to the memo.
The memo says Hoffman’s comments included obscene language and derogatory remarks about fellow employees, including a reference to a "booty call"
The memo says formal discipline was recommended by Hoffman’s superiors for the behavior, but no punishment was imposed.
Hoffman also was in charge of prisoner Christian Neith in December 2010 and failed to properly search the suspect, according to authorities. Neith was able to smuggle a 9mm handgun into the Northampton County Prison as a result of the bungled search.
Other 2013 behavior cited in report
Last year alone, prior to his DUI arrest, Hoffman's alleged drinking outside of work was troubling to the department. Incidents in March and July did not come to light, authorities say in the memo, until after the August drunken driving wreck.
On March 16, Hoffman was allegedly involved in a fight with a patron at Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub in Bethlehem. The memo says a bar bouncer had to separate the off-duty police officer from the patron after Hoffman grabbed the man’s neck and throat. When the owner of the restaurant stepped outside to convince Hoffman to settle down, he allegedly threatened the man.
"I will cause you problems," Hoffman allegedly told Molly's staff. "I'm a (expletive) cop and I'll make your life hell."
About a month before the suspected drunken driving wreck, Hoffman was allegedly so drunk during a July 13 bachelor party in Atlantic City that he could not recall the evening or the fact that he and a fellow officer were kicked out of an establishment.
Hoffman slated to work morning of crash
The memo also disclosed more details of the night when Hoffman allegedly got behind the wheel of his SUV while drunk. Hoffman had been drinking during a Godsmack concert and ended up at the Fraternal Order of Police hall at 77 W. Broad St., the memo says.
Several off-duty officers and dispatchers were at the hall drinking that night, the memo says, when Hoffman and an officer began a friendly wrestling match. The horseplay allegedly turned "ugly" and Hoffman and the other officer had to be pulled apart.
Another officer escorted Hoffman outside and told him it'd be best if he didn’t go back in, the memo says. That individual, not named in the memo, allegedly walked Hoffman to his vehicle and spoke to him to make "sure he was good before driving," according to the document.
The memo says one of the off-duty officers had a portable Breathalyzer with him and a group at the FOP hall laughed as they checked their levels, but Hoffman did not use the device.
The 35-year-old said he headed home after he realized he'd lost track of time and needed to get home, the memo says. He was scheduled to report for roll call at 6:45 a.m. that morning.
At about 3 a.m., police say Hoffman hit a parked vehicle at High and Broad streets, forcing two parked cars under the vehicles in front of them and flipped his own SUV. Hoffman had to be rescued from his vehicle by fire crews.
Bethlehem police cited several departmental directives in concluding that a termination is warranted.
"Through his repeated conduct Officer Hoffman has diminished the reputation of and confidence in the Bethlehem Police Department and lowered the respect for police officers as a whole," the memo reads.
By Elaine Thompson TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
NORTHBORO — A former Northboro police officer who admitted in Worcester Superior Court Monday to stealing more than $25,000 from the patrolman's union while he was president is facing a felony case in Leominster District Court.
Nathan W.S. Fiske Sr., 34, of 318 Holden St., Apt. 2, Holden, allegedly entered his ex-wife's Holden home through an unlocked door Sept. 12 and stole her checkbook, according to Paul Jarvey, a spokesman with the Worcester County District Attorney's office.
He is charged with breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony and larceny from a building. At his arraignment in Leominster District Court Nov. 15, bail was set at $500 cash bail. He is due back in court Jan. 13.
On Monday, after pleading guilty to larceny of more than $250 by a single scheme, he was placed on probation for three years, ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service and pay $25,355 in restitution to the Northboro Police Patrolman's Union. He was also ordered to not apply for any law enforcement job.
Mr. Fiske, who was hired as a full-time police officer in 2007, allegedly stole the money between Dec. 17, 2009, and March 14 of this year while he was president of the patrolman's union. He resigned June 21 during a disciplinary hearing with selectmen over the misuse of union funds.
By AMANDA BLAND World Staff Writer | 3 comments
A former Broken Arrow police officer charged with assault and battery and public intoxication was arrested Monday.
Jimmy Lee McBee, 34, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor assault and battery charge at 11 a.m.
The charge was filed in relation to a Dec. 7 incident that resulted in his arrest on a complaint of public intoxication.
McBee was arrested in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Tulsa hotel at 100 E. Second St. after showing signs of intoxication in the hotel’s lobby, the arresting officer wrote.
Prosecutors allege McBee also assaulted a woman by “shoving her into the wall with his hand on her breast with force and violence” the same evening.
McBee paid a $500 bond and was released Monday afternoon.
The Broken Arrow Police Department hired McBee in 2005. He was assigned to the patrol division before he resigned on Dec. 13.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office previously investigated allegations of first-degree rape against McBee in January 2012. He was never charged.
By Dan Linehandlinehan@mankatofreepress.com
Facebook post earns censure
In April, The Free Press published a story about Gaylord police officer Eric Boon, who was accused by the American Civil Liberties Union of disproportionately targeting Hispanic residents.
On April 24, Boon was placed on unpaid suspension for two weeks, but not for his police work. Instead, the Gaylord City Council found that Boon “displayed poor judgment and engaged in behavior unbecoming an officer” in a Facebook message he posted to The Free Press story.
In his post, he criticized the article and ACLU attorney Ian Bratlie, who he called “a brat that lies.”
The council also put him on probation for six months. Boon didn’t return a call that was left with the police chief seeking comment.
Boon had also been suspended for two days earlier in April, but it wasn’t clear if it was connected to the ACLU report. According to a letter from the police chief, the two-day suspension was for “misappropriate handling and investigating of a juvenile issue involving health and welfare” and for making “rude and inappropriate comments” to a county employee regarding work related issues.
The Free Press learned about the discipline in a September information request to the city.
Dan Linehan is a Free Press staff writer. Contact him at 344-6355, or firstname.lastname@example.org
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) - A Greenwood Police Officer has been suspended following his arrest in a disturbance at a party early New Year's Day.
39 year old Joseph Rodriguez has been suspended for five days without pay and faces possible further sanctions before the Greenwood Merit Commission.
Rodriguez was off duty when he was arrested by the Johnson County Sheriffs Department following a disturbance at a party.
Rodriguez faces charges of Battery on two Police Officers, Resisting Law Enforcement, Public Intoxication, Strangulation and Battery against his wife.
Shortly after 1 a.m. police were called to the 4400 block of Diamond Ridge in Hickory Stick to a disturbance.
One caller told dispatchers the off duty police officer was throwing punches and was out of control.
According to the police report, Rodriguez was found laying in the roadway, intoxicated and bleeding from the face.
When officers attempted to assist him, Rodriguez reportedly became combative, punching one deputy in the face.
Medics were called to the scene and police say Rodriguez kicked them also.
Joey Rodriguez was strapped to a gurney and taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
As officers investigated what led up to the incident, witnesses said Rodriguez became intoxicated and got out of control.
A pair of witnesses told officers Rodriguez had been choking his wife and one of them attempted to intervene by punching Rodriguez twice until he released his wife.
The police report states an officer secured a handgun that had been removed from Rodriguez before police arrived.
Rodriguez is being held on $150,000 bond.
Greenwood Police Chief John Laut has contacted the Greenwood Police Merit Commission to request an executive session to discuss further disciplinary action against Officer Rodriguez.. The Chief of Police can only suspend an employee for up to five days.
By Janelle Stecklein
| The Salt Lake Tribune
A ninth West Valley City police officer has been disciplined in connection with West Valley City’s now-disbanded Neighborhood Narcotics Unit.
West Valley police Sgt. Jason Hauer was suspended in late October for 40 hours without pay for mishandling money belonging to a confidential informant, according to discipline records obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune as part of an open records request. But the discipline involved a February 2010 incident, which occurred years before the 2012 scandal rocked the narcotics unit and led to its disbanding in December 2012.
According to the Oct. 31 discipline letter written by West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo, in February 2010, Hauer "inappropriately took possession of monies belonging to a confidential informant without a legitimate or lawful purpose."
Russo wrote that Hauer then inappropriately used $500 of the $1,200 he seized from the confidential informant in a law enforcement-led drug transaction to pay a drug dealer targeted in the probe.
"Although eventually $1,200 of the informant’s money was returned to her, $111 of the informant’s money remains unaccounted for," Russo wrote.
Russo said Tuesday that confidential informant’s money was found uninventoried in an envelope inside a safe as far back as 2011 — long after Hauer had been promoted to sergeant and transferred out of the unit.
But the internal affairs investigation languished, and it took the department years to mete out any sort of punishment before it crossed Russo’s desk in October.
"Nobody should have to wait that long for an internal affairs investigation to complete," Russo said Tuesday. "It does no good for anybody to have something sitting out there that long. It’s supposed to be swift and reasonable."
Russo said just before he was hired in August to replace retired Chief Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen, the matter was presented to the city’s Professional Standards Review Board, who recommended a letter of counseling and training.