The USA Today Network conducted an investigation into how U.S. law enforcement officers with records of serious misconduct continue to work, some of whom have been hired as police chiefs and sheriffs thorough out the country. USA Today reporters spent a year analyzing disciplinary records from hundreds of law enforcement agencies and state licensing boards, gathering information on police wrongdoing. They have created a database of more than 30,000 law enforcement officers who have had their licenses decertified or suspended. You can search the database by entering: Name, State or Agency. On the list are 98 Minnesota law enforcement officers, of which 32 are police chiefs and 2 sheriffs. In Minnesota, many of these police chiefs were disciplined for failure to train or document training of officers.
The report has aired on CBS This morning, and focused on the Amsterdam, Ohio Police Chief Cimperman who despite numerous employment issues in his past was hired as the police chief in 2015. The USA Today network investigation discovered small police departments often don’t perform thorough background investigations on prospective chief candidates.
Currently, the law enforcement profession is struggling to attract qualified recruits, and this isn’t expected to change in the coming years. This is even more challenging in smaller communities where the pay and benefits aren’t as great.
This investigation has helped to bring some transparency to the misconduct issues in law enforcement. Minnesota law enforcement agencies need to do thorough background checks when hiring new officers.