Police officials said more than 17 background reports were falsified by former officers Leah Russo and Kristian Ramirez. The two were partners in conducting background investigations for incoming police candidates.
The issue was brought to light by a police candidate who said their background check included an alleged conversation between investigators and a neighbor. The problem - the neighbor is dead.
A visibly upset Police Chief Anthony Campbell told reporters at police headquarters he was beyond disheartened by the officers’ actions.
“I say with no reservation or hesitation, we are great,” Campbell said. “But we do recruit from the human race, which means that mistakes will be made. However, what these two officers did was not a mistake. It was an intentional act.”
Campbell said the work to determine how deep their influence was within the background process is yet to be determined.
In the meantime, Campbell has ordered an investigation into every background check conducted by the two former officers.
Campbell said he’s also consulting with the state’s attorney’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office regarding criminal charges.
“Additionally I’ve asked that both offices look into the possibility of civil rights violations by these two former officers,” Campbell said. “Because the reality is this, no one is above the law. And that includes police officers.”
No motive has been determined so far.
Campbell said the fabricated information involves applicant references and not more serious information like criminal records.
For now, Campbell has put a hold on the hiring process for the incoming class. The class consisted of 39 people who were scheduled to start the police academy June 25.