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Floyd County

May 8, 2014

Officer claims corruption at NAPD

Veteran officer wants ISP to lead investigation

NEW ALBANY — An officer with the New Albany Police Department has made a formal request that the agency be investigated by Indiana State Police for corrupt conduct.

Patrol officer Laura Schook, who says she will have served exactly 19 years with the agency today, presented her grievances, for a second time, to the New Albany Police Merit Commission Thursday night.

With NAPD Chief Sherri Knight sitting alongside the merit commission members, Schook approached a lectern and made the following statement.

“In March of this year, I stood before you, and I advised you of several problems occurring within this department, including possible serious criminal conduct by members of this department; an alleged, corrupt police administration; and a facilitation of a discriminative, hostile work environment.

“After this was brought to your attention, the alleged offenders were allowed to investigate themselves. I am asking this honorable commission to consider asking the state police to take this investigation over so it can be conducted in an uncorrupt, unbiased manner. Thanks for considering my request.”

After Schook returned to her seat, the merit commission’s president Eddie Hodges responded to Schook by saying he wanted to set the record straight.

“We really need to say one thing perfectly clear. There was never, at this point, we have not had an investigation,” Hodges said. “We have not asked the chief [Knight] to investigate anything, and all we asked the chief was to clarify and respond to the allegations that were given to us.”

He said the merit commission will continue to consider Schook’s claims, including discussing her allegations during the executive session immediately following the meeting.

“We are, actually, meeting tonight on continuing on the session that we had in place already. We are not done with it. That is as far as I can respond at this time because it is an ongoing thing,” Hodges said.

Although Hodges said he asked Knight to clarify and respond to Schook’s claims, Knight said she is not sure what claims have been made.

“I can’t talk about it right now because I’m not even sure exactly what officer Schook is talking about, so I will look into it, and then we will prepare something and get it out to you,” Knight said.

Schook declined to make any further comment to area media after the merit commission was adjourned and the executive session began.

She directed requests for additional information to her Louisville-based attorney Laura Landenwich.

Landenwich was not reached before press time.

NAPD Sgt. John Hall who is president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 99, attended the meeting, but said the union is not representing Schook, at this time, as she has sought private counsel.

“We are monitoring everything that is going on,” Hall said of Schook’s grievances. “Some of the stuff, I have been ordered by the chief [Knight] not to talk about, other than we have not been asked for representation by officer Schook.”

Hall said he would have to defer questions related to Schook’s claims to her or Knight because he can not discuss personnel matters.

 

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