When police officials in Ohio met their new chief, they had no idea that previously he had been fired for perjury and charged with a felony while working as a police officer. It was only after an investigation was later launched that the truth began to emerge, and it highlighted a pattern that routinely sees police officers rise through the ranks despite accusations of misconduct, a USA Today Network investigation found.
The report identified 32 people with serious misconduct charges who went on to become police chiefs and sheriffs. Of these, at least eight were found guilty of committing a crime. Others stood accused of domestic violence, withholding evidence and falsifying records.
One sheriff in North Dakota who had been drinking led his co-workers on a high-speed car chase. An officer in Georgia landed a job as small-town chief despite having been fired from state police after it emerged that he had carried out on-duty affairs and lied about it.
In another instance, a Washington trooper joined the ranks in a small department after being convicted of rendering criminal assistance in a case that involved his son. However, one name that keeps surfacing is that of David Cimperman, who ran a part-time police force in northeastern Ohio.
When he was hired, department officials were not aware that he had been fired twice from his previous department. Michael Goodwin, the police chief of New Philadelphia, Ohio, said chaos is what remains in wake of his department's former officer.
"He was here for 15 years before he resigned. The city fired him twice. An arbitrator gave him his job back twice," Goodwin told CBS News of Cimperman. "He was being wrote up or disciplined by his supervisors on a regular basis."
The USA Today Network investigation found that allegations against Cimperman continued to mount despite the fact that he was fired and rehired twice. It was only in 2012, after the department gave him an ultimatum to resign or face disciplinary action, that he walked away.
Responding to the report, Cimperman told CBS News that the reports were "not accurate" and placed him in a "false light." He is reportedly still commissioned and is works as a paid part-timer in Ohio.
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