HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Update: Changes are underway in the Hutchinson Police Department after several officers, including a captain, were fired for a case involving a fellow officer.
It comes as a result of an internal investigation.
That case was a traffic stop involving an off-duty police officer.
Originally, it was believed that the stop was handled correctly.
But, an investigation, started in mid-August, said otherwise.
“This agency will operate with the utmost integrity,” said Jeff Hooper, chief of the Hutchinson Police Department. “We will hold ourselves accountable. And, that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”
Hooper made that statement at a press conference after three employees were fired and another suspended from his department.
Among those terminated was Captain Troy Hoover who was with Hutchinson PD for more than 30 years.
“We are going to move forward from here,” said Hooper. “I’m extremely proud of them men and women of the Hutchinson Police Department that I work with.”
The personnel move came after an administrative review into a traffic stop of an off-duty officer that happened on February 25th.
“In short, what was discovered was not consistent with what I’d been told by HPD,” said John Deardoff, city manager for the city of Hutchinson.
One resident told us she is glad the department is holding it’s staff accountable.
“It’s a little bit rough I know in a smaller town like this because people know people and things go around,” said Sarah Crow, a Hutchinson resident. “But, I feel like having more information would be just really useful.”
Down three employees, the police chief says they’re adjusting schedules to cover shifts.
“I have administrative staff level officers going back on patrol to help them out on the streets,” said Hooper. “I have officers changing their days off to fill in.”
“When you’re dealing with someone who is responsible for our safety on a day to day basis, those people have to be held to a little bit of a higher standard,” said Crow.
Besides the four officers who were fired or suspended, Hooper says action remains pending against a fifth officer, while a sixth was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The KBI and FBI are also doing a joint investigation.
The Hutchinson Police Chief and the City Manager held a press conference Wednesday regarding an internal investigation into a traffic stop of an off duty police officer back in February.
Following the internal investigation, three people were fired, including Captain Troy Hoover.
According to City Manager John Deardoff and Police Chief Jeffrey Hooper, six people were investigated. Three of those individuals were fired, one was suspended without pay, one was exonerated and the discipline of one other individual is pending.
Chief Hooper was not with the police department at the time of the traffic incident in February, but he said the last three days have been the hardest three days of his professional law enforcement career.
Chief Hooper said there will be a command staff made up of three captains instead. And the chief is also completing a review of the department’s police manual.
City Manager John Deardoff, the HR director, the city attorney and an outside investigator from Ohio prompted the city administrative investigation.
This story is still developing. Tune into KSN News at 10:00 p.m. for more details.