BRIDGEPORT, CT – The police chief from the Bridgeport Police Department, along with the acting personnel director from the same city, were both arrested on September 10th and are facing federal charges. The crimes alleged to have been committed by these two boils down to cheating on a test.
But not just any test – this test that was alleged to have been elaborately cheated on (along with other alleged sordid acts surrounding it) happens to be the police chief examination.
BREAKING: Bridgeport's police chief and the city's acting personnel director were arrested today, accused of rigging the 2018 police chief's exam https://t.co/cjWsO2L4ys
— WFSB Channel 3 (@WFSBnews) September 10, 2020
While the circumstances alleged are rather complex and the federal charges levied don’t exactly read out as ‘cheating on a test’, it’s perhaps the best way to describe what transpired in the simplest terms.
Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss announced the case against Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez and David Dunn, which the case is centered around when the BPD was looking to find a new police chief in 2018.
According to Strauss, Chief Perez and Dunn conspired together to rig “the 2018 police chief examination” in the favor of Chief Perez being selected as the police chief.
Which, obviously the endeavor was successful at the time considering that Perez wound up being selected at the police chief.
Bridgeport police chief and personnel director charged with fraud, false statements in connection with city’s hiring of the police chief https://t.co/Q1sqEQQKbj
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) September 10, 2020
When the two accused appeared in federal court on September 10th, Strauss stated the following:
“Chief Perez and Personnel Director Dunn schemed to rig the purportedly impartial and objective search for a permanent police chief to ensure the position was awarded to Perez, and then repeatedly lied to federal agents in order to conceal their conduct.”
Strauss continued from there, noting that the alleged conduct of both Chief Perez and Dunn completely undermined the veracity of the selection process for a police chief, while extending accolades to the FBI for assisting in the investigation:
“Bridgeport’s citizens and police officers deserve leaders with integrity who are committed to enforcing, not breaking, the law, and we thank the FBI for their partnership in investigating and uncovering the scheme alleged.”
When looking at how the duo were alleged to have pulled this scheme off to ensure Perez became the police chief, we have to look back to February of 2018 when the search for a new police chief began.
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Back in early 2018, Perez was the acting police chief and Dunn was critical in the process to help deliver the means of selecting whoever would take the helm in a permanent position. Dunn’s role was to essentially oversee the examination process and bring in an outside consultant to create and administer the exam itself.
From there on out, that’s where Perez and Dunn began allegedly making moves to get Perez to rise to the top of the preferred picks for chief of police.
Dunn was said to have stolen some of the police exam questions that was developed by the outside consultant, and other related materials, and forwarded that information over to Perez. Some of those materials were also sent via email, according to the criminal complaint.
The police chief of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and another official, were charged with conspiring to rig the hiring process to ensure that the chief got the top police job https://t.co/wqIm57za8a
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 11, 2020
Thereafter, Dunn was alleged to have had the consultant tailor the exam’s scoring criteria in a way that would behoove Perez.
Perez was then alleged to have had solicited two BPD officers to actually draft the written exam portion of the test itself.
If that weren’t enough alleged meddling already, prosecutors say that Dunn even attempted to influence one of the panelists with placing Perez among the top-ranked candidates during the final portion of the examination process.
Based upon the aforementioned, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s office referred to this arrangement as having “deceived” the city:
“As a result of the scheme, the city was deceived into ranking Perez among the top three candidates, which rendered him eligible for the permanent police chief position.”
BREAKING: The Bridgeport Police Chief and the personnel director have been arrested and charged with fraud by the U.S. Attorney and FBI for allegedly ‘rigging’ a police chief exam. https://t.co/b2tK5dGLDT
— WTNH News 8 (@WTNH) September 10, 2020
Lo and behold – Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim offered Perez a five-year contract as BPD’s chief of police.
Given the recent revelations with the federal charges against Chief Perez and Dunn, Mayor Ganim had the following to say on September 10th:
“There is a grappling for some answers to what has happened, disappointment, uncertainty, but I can tell you this, the members of this administration remain committed to you.”
According to the DOJ, Chief Perez and Dunn have been charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On top of those charges, both were alleged to have provided false statements to investigators, which Perez is facing two counts and Dunn facing one.
The wire fraud and conspiracy to commit charges both carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the lying to investigators charges carry a maximum of five years in prison.