Police Chief Allegedly Rigged His Own Hiring

Bridgeport's Armando Perez, another official face decades in prison if convicted
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2020 11:20 AM CDT
Police Chief Allegedly Rigged His Own Hiring
Bridgeport Police Chief Armando "A.J." Perez leaves the Brien McMahon Federal Building and US Courthouse out a back door on Thursday, in Bridgeport, Conn.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The police chief of Connecticut's largest city cheated to get the job, according to federal prosecutors, who say he could face decades in prison. Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez is accused of working with the city's acting personnel director, David Dunn, to rig the hiring process, reports the New York Times. In announcing wire fraud charges on Thursday, Acting Manhattan US Attorney Audrey Strauss said the pair had obtained secret test questions and got two officers to draft his application and answers to the written test. Perez and Dunn are also accused of making changes to the scoring system that would benefit Perez and ensuring there was no requirement that candidates have a bachelor's degree; Perez was the only applicant who didn't, according to prosecutors.

Mayor Joe Ganim had named Perez, a 40-year veteran, as acting chief of police in 2015. But to remain in that position, Perez had to become one of three finalists in a 2018 nationwide search, per the Connecticut Post. In securing the position, he got a five-year contract as well as a $300,000 payout for accrued leave, per the Times. "Bridgeport's citizens and police officers deserve leaders with integrity who are committed to enforcing, not breaking, the law," Strauss said. Perez and Dunn are charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and making false statements. Perez faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted; Dunn up to 40. Ganim served as mayor from 1991 to 2003, before spending seven years in prison for corruption. He was reelected in 2015 and 2019. He says Perez, who once served as his driver, has now resigned. (More Bridgeport, Conn. stories.)

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