This article has nothing to do with the majority of law enforcement officers in this country who do their job every day with integrity and honor and uphold the code of conduct and ethics that the public demands of them. It is the job of all law enforcement personnel to expose misconduct and corruption within their ranks and not stand idly by and let that conduct permeate and destroy the reputation and honor of the profession.
Most people when you talk to them about police corruption and misconduct believe that was something that happened back in the sixties and seventies and doesn’t occur today except for a few instances here and there. Those that remember will bring up NYPD Detective, Frank Serpico and the Knapp Commission on police corruption in New York City in the 1970’s. Corruption is something that happened during those times and does not happen anymore, they say.
That is far from the truth. Police corruption and misconduct is just as pervasive today as it was in the sixties and seventies, if not more so in some respects. Over the past few decades police departments have come under more scrutiny which has led to more investigations of corrupt cops, either by their own department or outside agencies.
Corruption and misconduct in law enforcement are age-old problems that have plagued American society since the first law officer pinned on a badge. There is a distinct difference between corruption and misconduct.
Police corruption is the abuse of police authority for personal gain and usually involves profit or other type of material benefit gained illegally as a consequence of the officer’s authority. Police misconduct can be “procedural” when it involves the violation of departmental rules and regulations; “unconstitutional” when it refers to police who violate a citizen’s civil rights; “criminal” when police violate state and federal laws; or any combination of.
Years ago, it was common practice for police officers to receive free drinks, meals, and other gratuities, which often led to business’ receiving preferential treatment and an environment conducive to police corruption. This is now forbidden by most police departments because it conveyed an image of corruption to the public. Bribery is also common in cases of corruption where an officer will accept payment to overlook a crime or a possible future crime, ticket fixing, altering testimony, destroying evidence and selling criminal information. Shakedowns involve the stealing of items for personal use from a crime scene or an arrest. Undermining criminal prosecutions by withholding evidence or failing to appear in court for bribery or as a personal favor. Lying to protect other officers or themselves in court or during a departmental investigation. Others have been involved in direct criminal activity and planting or adding evidence, especially in drug cases.
There is also, “noble cause corruption,” which includes planting or fabricating evidence, lying or the fabrication and manipulation of facts on reports or through testimony in court, and generally abusing police authority to make a charge stick. Studies have shown that some of the best officers are often the most susceptible to this type of corruption. In actuality there is nothing noble about this form of corruption or any other type of police misconduct or corruption.
Federal law, through both criminal and civil statutes, specifically targets police misconduct. Federal law is applicable to all state, county, and local officers. The federal criminal statute makes it unlawful for anyone acting with police authority to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Another statute, commonly referred to as the police misconduct provision, makes it unlawful for state and local police to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of their rights. Federal law also prohibits discrimination in police work. Any police department receiving federal funding is covered by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Office of Justice Programs statute. These laws prohibit conduct ranging from racial slurs and unjustified arrests to refusal of departments to respond to discrimination complaints.
Police corruption and misconduct is not specific to any geographical location, nor if the law enforcement agency is run by an elected sheriff or an appointed police chief. A large metropolitan police force, a county sheriff’s office or a local small town police department, they are susceptible. The race of the officers involved plays no part.
Some departments take an aggressive approach to combatting corruption and misconduct within their ranks by staffing internal affairs investigators who work with closely with local prosecutors. Other agencies don’t investigate any complaints of misconduct and acts of corruption and others only investigate when told to do so by the sheriff or the police chief.
The latter is what frustrates many good cops I have spoken to over the years. When they see misconduct and corruption they are fearful to come forward because some have seen police supervisors and top brass getting away with offenses that they themselves could be arrested for and or fired. Officers who have connections with the top brass often get a pass while other officers face disciplinary action, criminal charges or worse for the same offenses.
Studies have shown that proper leadership and command structure are vital to fighting misconduct and corruption in a police department. But what happens when those in command engage in deplorable conduct and it is covered up? What message does that portray to the rank and file? Over the years I have spoken to officers from all across the country. Some of the stories I was told were pretty disturbing. How would one expect officers to feel about ethics in law enforcement when their own bosses cover up crimes to protect themselves?
A police administrator who received oral sex from a prostitute in a business establishment. Another who was involved in a domestic violence incident when his wife found out that he was having sexual relations with a female subordinate. She called 911 for assistance and he ran outside to his take home police vehicle and cancelled the call. Another whose department was under investigation by the FBI and told his officers not to talk to the feds until they talk to his personal attorney. Another whose wife found out about an ongoing affair with a female member of his department. Shots were fired inside the home. Officers responded along with top brass. The incident was covered up, records were altered to change the dispatch call and jobs were threatened.
In cases such as those and others could we really expect police officers in those departments to come forward and expose misconduct and corruption after knowing that their bosses have covered up crimes just to protect themselves and their position? How would an honest officer ever have respect for that sheriff or police chief again, specifically if they themselves had done the same offenses and would have faced disciplinary action or arrest? Conduct such as that described are almost never made public and remain within the department as one “our dirty little secrets” and results in fostering an atmosphere that corruption and misconduct are condoned, from the top on down. Morale in those agencies drops to groundhog level.
One corrupt officer in a department can generate an overall distrust of the entire department by the community it serves. A generally appreciated department can be brought to its knees in terms of public relations and tends to generate distrust among the citizens. People look at one bad cop and assume the entire department is corrupt and committing similar or worse acts, especially true where several other officers were found to be committing similar violations.
Where corruption exists, the widespread existence of a “blue wall or code of silence” among the police can prevent the corruption from coming to light. Officers in these situations commonly fail to report corrupt behavior or provide false testimony to investigators to cover up criminal activity by their fellow officers. The corrupt activities usually happen in secret. Studies have shown that police organizations have little incentive to publish information about corruption.
The Mollen Commission was established in the 1990’s to investigate police corruption and misconduct in the New York City Police Department. One officer who testified at one of the hearings was asked by the Commission, if he beat up people he arrested. He answered, “No, we just beat people up in general. If they’re on the street, hanging around drug locations. It was a show of force. We had no interest in stopping the drug trade, but profiting from it.”
In 1995, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani established the full-time Commission to Combat Police Corruption, as an entity independent from the police department.
A 1998 General Accounting Office report found evidence of growing police involvement in drug sales, theft of drugs and money from drug dealers, and perjured testimony about illegal searches. Also that year, the FBI arrested forty-two officers from five Cleveland, Ohio law enforcement agencies on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Distrust of the police by minorities across the country is nothing new. Just going back as far as the nineties several studies indicated there was justification for the way minorities felt about how they were treated by the police.
The former police chief of the Washington, D. C. Metropolitan Police Department stated in the late nineties that “sizeable percentages of Americans today, especially Americans of color, still view policing in the United States to be discriminatory, if not by policy and definition, certainly in its day-to-day application.”
Around the same time a survey of 650 Los Angeles Police Department officers found that 25% felt that “racial bias” on the part of officers toward minority citizens currently existed and contributed to a negative interaction between police and the community.
New Jersey’s Attorney General at the time, in an investigation into allegations of racial profiling on the New Jersey Turnpike, concluded that “minority motorists were treated differently by NJ troopers than non-minority motorists during the course of traffic stops. The report concluded that the disparate treatment “engendered feelings of fear, resentment, hostility, and mistrust by minority citizens.”
Likewise, The Massachusetts Attorney General investigated similar allegations of egregious police conduct toward minorities. The report stated: “We conclude that Boston police officers engaged in improper, and unconstitutional conduct with respect to stops and searches of minority individuals…. Although we cannot say with precision how widespread this illegal conduct was, we believe that it was sufficiently common to justify changes in certain Department practices.
The Massachusetts AG also stated, “Perhaps the most disturbing evidence was that the scope of a number of “Terry” searches went far beyond anything authorized by that case and indeed, beyond anything that we believe would be acceptable under federal and state constitutions even where probable cause existed to conduct a full search incident to an arrest. Forcing young men to lower their trousers, or otherwise searching inside their underwear, on public streets or in public hallways, is so demeaning and invasive of fundamental precepts of privacy that it can only be condemned in the strongest terms. The fact that not only the young men themselves, but independent witnesses complained of strip searches, should be deeply alarming to all members of this community.”
A National Institute of Justice study found that 43% of African-Americans considered “police brutality and harassment a serious problem” in their own community. In 1999 a survey of 100 young black and Hispanic men living in New York City indicated that 81 had been stopped and frisked by police at least once and that none of the stops resulted in arrests.
A U. S. Dept. of Justice report indicated that African-American residents in 12 cities are more than twice as likely to be dissatisfied with police practices than white residents in the same community.
The Wall Street Journal stated “Black leaders complained that innocent people were being picked up in drug sweeps conducted by the NYPD and that some teen-agers were so scared of the drug task force that they ran even if they weren’t selling drugs.”
In areas of high crime and drug activity the police routinely conduct stop and frisk of citizens. Many of these stops never lead to an arrest, which further exacerbates the perceptions of discrimination felt by racial minorities and people living in high crime areas. Living in a high crime, low income neighborhood is not indicative that every citizen living there is a criminal. Sometimes police officers working in those areas tend to act like everyone in those areas are criminals, which further alienates the community.
Law abiding citizens who become the unfortunate victims of police misconduct conducted under the guise of the War on Crime tend to see the police as more of the enemy after such an encounter. In the inner cities studies have indicated that stereotyping and racial targeting, promotes a mentality of “us versus them” not only with the citizens but also with the police which only serves to further the rift between the police and the community.
Americans were shocked to see the murder of Walter Scott by former police officer, Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina, as it was video recorded by a witness to the murder. Slager was charged with murder and fired by the department. People question what would have happened had there not been a video to record the murder.
The arrest of a police officer in South Carolina who was shown on video fatally shooting a motorist in the back after a traffic stop.
Another video taken by a news helicopter showed eleven San Bernardino County, California sheriff’s deputies kicking Francis Pusok about a dozen times and punching him more than two dozen times for about two minutes. This occurred after Pusok had surrendered, followed commands to keep his hands behind his back and was laying on the ground. In a disgusting display of law enforcement at its worst, no deputy stood tall and intervened to stop it. Integrity and honor took a backseat to cowardice and complicity.
The City of Baltimore which has had a long history of police corruption and misconduct has paid $5.7 million dollars between 2011 and 2014 for settlements and court judgments in lawsuits accusing city police officers of false arrests, false imprisonment and excessive force, some which resulted in deaths. Virtually all of the people who won large awards were cleared from criminal charges. One study indicated that Baltimore’s police department paid out nearly three times more to settle civil rights lawsuits than the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in Nevada despite having about the same number of officers.
With the death of Freddie Gray, once again allegations of years of abuse by the police is now resurfacing in the community. With a history of injuries and deaths by persons in police custody the Baltimore City Police will face further scrutiny. In a prior lawsuit a BPD officer testified that “rough rides” did occur and such conduct was called “the unspoken technique” by police. Whether this was a factor in Gray’s death still has yet to be determined, but if a pattern of continual misconduct involving “rough rides” can be established it will be an uphill battle for the city when a lawsuit is filed. Coupled with the fact that the prosecutor stated the arrest was false, and that department policy was violated by not securing Gray into the police vehicle and refusing medical treatment, it would be another civil case doomed from the start. And one could speculate on why the video system that was installed in the transport vehicle that allows the driver to see the prisoners in the back, according to one officer had been inoperable for years.
In 1999 during the investigation of a major Baltimore bookmaker allegations arose that an unknown Baltimore police officer had provided warning of search warrants to the criminals. The Assistant U. S. Attorney stated it was “not a secret” that one of the organizations was ” receiving information in advance from the Baltimore City Police Department.” No city police officer was ever indicted in the case.
In 2003 a Baltimore City police officer was indicted on charges of drug conspiracy and misconduct in office. She was accused of trying to alert suspected drug dealers to their impending arrests during a sting operation conducted at her district station.
In 2006 two Baltimore City Police detectives were arrested by the FBI for masterminding an illegal drug-dealing and robbery operation. Police said that they discovered that the two detectives were mentioned by name on the Stop Snitching DVD, a locally produced video promoting the illegal drug trade and discouraging cooperation with law enforcement.
In 2012 a Baltimore City Police officer was suspended after a 13-year-old girl was shot to death and the weapon police suspect was used in the crime was found in the officer’s personal vehicle. Also that year another officer was charged with attempted theft of property and another was charged with dealing heroin from a police station house parking lot. Another incident of two brothers who owned a body shop, became the focus of a federal investigation into widespread corruption in the Baltimore Police Department. That case involved a kickback scheme that paid officers to bring them business. Some of the officers involved submitted fraudulent insurance claims and falsified police reports. About sixty police officers were implicated resulting in fifteen being sentenced in federal court to prison terms, and another plead guilty in state court.
In 2013 a Baltimore City Police officer was arrested in a human-trafficking investigation after his 19- year-old wife agreed to have sex for cash with an undercover cop. He was fired shortly after his arrest and later faced a federal indictment on prostitution charges and running a call-girl business.
Back in 2001 a secret Baltimore police Internal Affairs office was burglarized and ransacked and sensitive investigations involving police misconduct were compromised. Few people in the department knew the location even existed. A source familiar with the case said that up to six files may have been stolen or tampered with, along with lists of citizens who made complaints about officers. One of the files was that of a Baltimore City Police officer who was under investigation and later charged with falsely arresting a man on drug charges.
Just last year a Baltimore City Police detective who testified against a sergeant and another officer in a misconduct investigation, found a dead rat on his car’s windshield and became the target of threats and intimidation by members of his own police department. Officers made repeated references to him being a rat and one sergeant called him at home to threaten him. As for the two officers he testified against, the sergeant was convicted of misconduct, and the officer was convicted of assault and obstruction of justice. In this case an honest cop comes forward and ends up getting threatened for doing so. The fact that anyone wearing a badge would call another cop a rat for exposing misconduct reminds me of organized crime figures calling an informant a rat. He was no rat, he was a hero. And any police officer who called him such or threatened him should have been fired immediately. That’s how you send a message to rogue police officers.
One of the worst police corruption scandals in U.S. history occurred in 1999 and involved the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart precinct and its elite anti-gang unit. Following local and federal investigations, the gang unit was dismantled, some 70 officers were investigated, and several either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of crimes ranging from drug theft and peddling to assault, fabricating arrests, and filing false reports. As a result of the corruption, several dozen criminal convictions credited to the work of the corrupt officers were overturned. The city paid over $40 million to settle lawsuits in cases arising from the corruption.
Police corruption and misconduct is not only specific to large metropolitan police departments but smaller agencies as well.
Last year, The City of Waldo, Florida disbanded its police department after five police officers spoke out citing corruption and misconduct by the police chief and another officer, both of whom later resigned. Waldo police officer, Brandon Roberts, one of the five officers who came forward, said he did what he did because of his oath to the constitution taken when he became an officer. “A lot of people complain about cops not stepping across the blue line, and this is a prime example, because you have to worry about this kind of stuff,” Roberts said.
In 2009 the Spring Lake Police Department in North Carolina was stripped of its authority after two police sergeants were arrested. The police chief resigned the next day. One was charged with twenty counts of obstruction of justice; three counts of second-degree kidnapping; one count of felony breaking and entering; two counts of willful failure to discharge duty; three counts of simple assault; three counts of assault with a deadly weapon; three counts of assault by pointing a gun and three counts of false imprisonment. The other was charged with one count of embezzlement; one count of obtaining property by false pretense; three counts of larceny; three counts of obstruction of justice; two counts of failure to discharge duty and one count of solicitation to commit a felony. The District Attorney said he dismissed the majority of the police department’s pending misdemeanor cases. He said he suspected senior officers of lying and directing other officers to fabricate facts in police reports. “We can no longer rely upon the basic presumed integrity of the work product of this department,” he said.
Also in North Carolina from 2007 to 2009, four sheriff’s in the state were convicted of breaking the very laws that they swore an oath to uphold. From 2004 to 2009, five North Carolina sheriff’s faced serious charges.
In 2013 the West City Valley, Utah police narcotics unit was disbanded due to rampant corruption among its officers. The officers were found stealing small items from seized vehicles, taking evidence, and placing tracking devices on potential suspects’ vehicles without warrants.
The City of Hawthorne, California in 2009 paid $1 million to settle a lawsuit alleging excessive force by city police officers. Five officers were named in the suit. The officers, one of whom was the police chief’s son was accused of breaking a man’s jaw in 2006. A police video showed two officers, one of which was a first grade teacher and a reserve police officer, slapping high-fives as the plaintiff was being searched. Records indicated that internal affairs investigators never interviewed the officers involved, the victim or witnesses.
The New York City Police Department has paid nearly $1 billion to settle lawsuits over the past decade. In 2001 the NYPD settled a civil case against the department by a Haitian immigrant who was beaten in a police cruiser and sodomized in a bathroom with a broom handle by four NYPD officers. The settlement for $8.7 million was one of the highest police brutality settlements ever paid and the highest by New York City since paying a $3 million settlement in the choking death of a suspect in 1994.
Chicago Police averaged $39.1 million a year from 1999 to 2008 to settle lawsuits. Los Angeles Police averaged $21.4 million 2003 to 2010. Philadelphia Police averaged $9.2 million a year from 2005 to 2009. Many states have a maximum civil payment that is allowed under state law. There are no monetary limitations on awards in federal court.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in Nevada, one of the highest paid police department’s in the country, has paid out over $5 million in legal settlements since 2011 and many more are currently pending. Many are federal civil rights complaints. Outside attorney’s fees alone in 2012 ran $3 million. The department ranked third behind Houston and Chicago, in officer-involved shootings per capita. From 1990 to 2011, the department reported 310 shooting incidents, 115 of them were fatal. With a population of less than ten percent black, about a third of those shot by the police were black. An increase in the frequency of officer involved shootings led to a review of the agency from the U. S. Department of Justice.
In 1995 a citizen was beaten by three LVMPD officers and all three were fired and sentenced to jail.
In 1996 an LVMPD officer was arrested on charges of sexual assault, open and gross lewdness and oppression after a couple said he forced them to perform sexual acts while he watched after pulling them over. He pleaded guilty to two counts of oppression under the color of office. Also in 1996 two officers were involved off-duty in a drive-by shooting in which a citizen was killed. Both went to prison.
In 1997 an LVMPD officer was arrested and charged with attempted sexual assault and oppression under the color of law. The officer resigned and later plead guilty to two felony counts. Also in 1997 four off-duty LVMPD SWAT officers were involved in an off-duty altercation at a local nightclub resulting in the jailing of two cousins on false charges. The cousins said that one officer called him a “nigger” and another had made a gesture of pointing as though he had a gun and was pulling the trigger. Three of the on-duty responding officers later testified that the SWAT officers threatened the cousins. The on-duty police supervisor at the scene testified that he was “embarrassed” as a police officer because of the off-duty officers “unprofessional behavior.”
The family of a French citizen who died while in the Clark County Detention Center in 2001, settled for $500,000 in 2003.
In 2003 two LVMPD corrections officers, threw lit firecrackers into inmate areas of the Clark County Detention Center, which prompted a federal lawsuit. A settlement was reached and after disciplinary action the officers returned to work. The sheriff at that time stated the incident was “a practical joke gone awry.”
In 2004 a citizen who was handcuffed and on his stomach, then was stunned with a taser died of “positional asphyxia” meaning he couldn’t breathe while being restrained. The coroner ruled the death “excusable”. In 2012 The LVMPD Fiscal Affairs Committee recommended a settlement offer of $295,000.
In 2006 an officer was sentenced to three years probation for theft and falsifying evidence during a drug raid. He resigned from the department.
In March of 2007, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the LVMPD was ordered to pay $1.48 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that the police gave special treatment to an officer’s wife who hit and killed a bicyclist in 1994. The driver, who had been drinking alcohol that evening was never charged. The lawsuit contended that her husband, an officer and his fellow officers knew she had been drinking but covered it up and delayed calling the Nevada Highway Patrol, which eventually took over the investigation.
In 2008 another officer was arrested by officers of another jurisdiction on charges of domestic violence and coercion. He was convicted of battery and left the department.
In 2009 an officer used a lateral-vascular neck restraint, commonly referred to as a chokehold, to subdue a citizen who died. The coroner ruled the death ‘excusable.’ A settlement of $1,000,000 million was approved for the family of the man. Also in 2009 a police lieutenant was the target of a corruption investigation by both the LVMPD and the FBI with regards to dealings in an ongoing HOA scandal in Southern Nevada. In 2012 the police lieutenant pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of misprision of a felony for the concealment of an attempt to commit bank fraud. He was sentenced to three years of probation.
In 2010 an LVMPD detective was involved in a controversial fatal shooting during a search warrant. An investigation found that the detective had violated several police department policies regarding the preparation and serving of the warrant. The detective had shot at least three other people in the line of duty up until that point. The family of the man killed received a settlement of $1.7 million, which is the highest amount ever awarded by the department. Also in 2010 the police union advised its members to no longer cooperate with coroner’s inquests of police shootings.
In 2011 an LVMPD officer was involved in the beating and arrest of a man after the officer found him filming a police investigation of a burglary. Charges of assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest were later dismissed by the court. A claim of excessive force was made. The man received a settlement of $100,000. Also that year the police admitted that a case of human error involving switched DNA samples by a criminalist had sent a man to prison for four years. The expected settlement could reach into the ‘7-figure range. Another man was awarded $2.1 million by a federal grand jury as a result of charges of excessive force by three officers. Another officer who had killed an unarmed Gulf War veteran became the first police officer in the history of the department to be fired as a result of an on-duty shooting. The man’s family received a settlement of $1.5 million.
In 2012 another officer was arrested on felony charges of coercion and oppression under the color of law and open and gross lewdness, following separate complaints from two women whom the officer had detained. The women were made to expose their breasts and one of the women was groped. The officer resigned from the department and later plead guilty to two gross misdemeanors. He was sentenced to two years in the Clark County Detention Center and was required to register as a sex offender. Also that same year another officer wounded a man he thought was involved in a domestic disturbance. The man was just sitting in a car. Nine months later he was suspended for forty hours because of his poor judgement.
Civil suits are not easy to pursue when it comes to police misconduct. The plaintiff has to prove that the officer violated their constitutional rights and is not protected under what is called qualified immunity provided to officers and must also show that the police department is liable because the officer was acting under the department’s authority. The process is time-consuming and difficult and experts have stated that unless there is clear evidence of excessive force or other misconduct, attorneys will not take the case. When cases are filed, the police department’s attorney weighs whether it should settle the lawsuit before court versus going to trial and losing maybe ten times or more from a verdict. There are times a police department wants to defend themselves in court but the costs of the attorney’s fees alone are simply not worth it. In either case, the monetary settlements for police misconduct and or negligence is staggering across the country and rising.
Why some officers become corrupt and others do not is a question that has pondered the experts for years. Why some resist the temptation while others don’t. Maybe it comes down to personal integrity and character.
No law abiding citizen with common sense would disagree with a police officer using deadly force when it is the last resort and justified under the rule of law or using the minimum force necessary to effect an arrest. We should all agree that a police officer has a right to go home after his shift just as any other citizen working in any other job.
There has been way too many incidents of police brutality, wrongful deaths, misconduct and corruption and not to have those incidents scrutinized by the public would not be the prudent thing to do. Sometimes law enforcement is their own worst enemy. Coming from a former police officer that is a disgusting shame. We cannot keep having this distrust of law enforcement in this country.
There are times that currently used, accepted police practices that are intended to stop crime and keep a community safe ends up having an adverse affect on that community.
When it comes to police corruption and misconduct, I believe that change has to come from within the agency itself. It is those in law enforcement that have to stand up, walk tall and rid their agencies of racists cops, corrupt cops and those that subvert the oath they swore to when they took the job. The community must stand by those officers who do what is right and expose the cancer that not only destroys the police agency but the community as well.
Wearing a badge is not a license to kill or break the law. No one is above the law and that includes the police. Until something changes I fear to say that some citizens will still require protection from the very people appointed to protect and serve.
Doug authored over 135 articles on the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre, more than any other single journalist in the country. He investigates stories on corruption, law enforcement and crime. Doug is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former police officer, deputy sheriff and criminal investigator. Doug spent 20 years in the hotel/casino industry as an investigator and then as Director of Security and Surveillance. He also spent a short time with the US Dept. of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration. In 1986 Doug was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. In 1992 and 1993 Doug testified in court that a sheriff’s office official and the county prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence during the 1988 trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of his wife. Doug’s testimony led to a judge’s decision to order the release of the man from prison in 1992 and awarded him a new trial, in which he was later acquitted. As a result of Doug breaking the police “blue wall of silence,” he was fired by the county sheriff. His story was featured on Inside Edition, Current Affair and CBS News’ “Street Stories with Ed Bradley”. In 1992 after losing his job, at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Doug infiltrated a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont fortune heir and his wife. Doug has been a guest on national television and radio programs speaking on the stories he now writes as an investigative journalist.