A college cop resigned amid sexual harassment allegations, however three years later, one other police division employed him to analyze sexual assault.
Officer David Laudon was working on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Police Department in 2010. One Sunday after midnight, he allegedly supplied a 20-year-old scholar a trip to her residence corridor in his cruiser, in response to an incident report. When she received out, Laudon gave her a hug and “grabbed her breast,” the scholar mentioned.
She was carrying a trench coat and boots due to the climate. The officer later texted her, “Those boots make me hot, and I want to go to bed with you!”
After that, the scholar reported continued harassment. Laudon allegedly groped her once more throughout a hearth alarm, this time in entrance of different college students. He known as and texted her repeatedly. After she filed a criticism with the administration, he continued to name the scholar and her pals, attempting to “find out who filed a complaint against him.”
The officer resigned when his division started a misconduct investigation, in response to native station WBUR. But three years later, he began a brand new job on the police division in Blackstone, Massachusetts—hardly 50 miles away.
Laudon was employed to analyze sexual assault and help scholar security for the Blackstone Police Department, the place he nonetheless works.
An archival report of the division’s personnel web page listed him as a “Sexual Assault Investigator” till Monday. By Tuesday, following native reviews about his report, the title was eliminated. He remains to be listed because the division’s Drug Recognition Expert, ALICE Instructor and Child Safety Seat Contact.
Philip Stinson, a professor who researches police crime at Bowling Green State University, informed Newsweek that Laudon’s sample is widespread throughout the United States. Small, municipal departments are notably incentivized to miss blemishes in an officer’s report if it means they will fill a job sooner and extra cheaply.
“A lot of those agencies like to hire people who have already got their Police Academy training, or in some states that would include a state-level certification,” mentioned Stinson. “If they have that, it’s less of a problem for them. They don’t have to pay them to go to the Academy and lose that time and cost involved.”
Some departments haven’t got thorough background checks, whereas others merely select to miss previous misconduct. Even if officers lose their certification, their new employers could by no means discover out.
“There’s a decertification registry, but it’s voluntary,” mentioned Stinson. “A lot of prospective law enforcement agency employers don’t check with them, and a lot of states don’t provide information to that registry.”
In circumstances like Laudon’s, the place an officer resigns throughout a misconduct evaluation, the investigation may simply stay beneath lock and key.
Stinson mentioned, “Sometimes what will happen is they won’t even finish writing up an internal discipline investigation report because the officer is no longer employed there—they don’t have jurisdiction over them administratively. So sometimes there’s no paper trail at all.”
WBUR found greater than a dozen present law enforcement officials in Massachusetts who had been beforehand fired or resigned from one other division after a misconduct investigation. But the issue is not solely in Massachusetts.
A 2020 examine within the Yale Law Journal discovered that over a interval of 30 years, 3 % of all officers within the state of Florida had been beforehand fired by one other division—a median of just below 1,100 officers a yr.
A 2016 report from Stinson and The Wall Street Journal revealed that former Florida police officer Claudia Wright misplaced her badge in 2011, having cast her grandmother’s signature to purchase a automobile. Her plea deal specified that she was relinquishing police certification completely with “no opportunity for reinstatement.” But just a few quick years later, she was working on the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.
And in Ohio, officer Timothy Loehmann—who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice for carrying a toy gun in 2014—had been deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for responsibility in a earlier police function.
Rehiring officers who had been beforehand ousted for misconduct may be damaging to a neighborhood, mentioned Stinson.
“It can cause problems in the community in terms of police legitimacy,” he mentioned. “If the citizenry doesn’t have faith in their local police officers, they may not cooperate when they’re asked to help officers. They may not call the police when they have an emergency of their own…they’re just not going to want to have anything to do with police.”
Newsweek reached out to Laudon and Blackstone’s Chief of Police for remark.