Chesterton Tribune



Ghost employment charges against Gary PD officer dismissed

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A Gary Police officer accused of ghost employment and charged with two counts of theft has been vindicated, her attorneys said, after the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges pending against her.

Officer Jennifer Powell, a GPD officer since 2002, was charged with theft on April 4, 2013, following an internal affairs investigation into her secondary employment, attorneys Scott King and Russell Brown said in a statement released today. That investigation concluded that Powell collected wages from her GPD position while working as a corrections officer at the Lake County Jail and also as a private security agent.

Those allegations “forever changed her life,” King and Brown said. “Before given a proper trial, Officer Powell was tried in the court of public opinion; her picture plastered on a series of newspaper articles and social media outlets.”

On April 16, however, the Lake County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office dismissed those charges. “Once the time records and other information regarding all three jobs were obtained, it became clear that there was no evidence of Powell being paid twice for the same time,” King and Brown said. “In short, the investigation by . . . the Gary Police Department was riddled with inaccurate and incomplete facts and other information.”

Since early this year, Powell has been suspended from the GPD without pay based upon a pending complaint in the Gary Police Commission. “We are demanding her immediate reinstatement to full duty and payment of all wages lost as a result of actions taken by the Department based upon these charges,” King said. “In addition, should she desire, we intend to seek her reinstatement to the other positions she was wrongfully terminated from.”

“This ordeal has been devastating to Officer Powell, but she is reassured that justice has been partially restored,” King and Brown added.



Posted 4/29/2014