FLOYD CO., Ind. (WHAS11) – It is official: after a criminal investigation into the New Albany Police Department that lasted close to three months, Floyd Count Prosecutor Keith Henderson said he will not be filing criminal charges.
The story begins back in March when New Albany Police Officer Laura Schook went to the Merit Commission with allegations of corruption in the police department. A couple of those allegations included officers reporting time for payment that they did not work as well as working side jobs while on duty. In May, New Albany Police Chief Sherri Knight stepped down amid these allegations into the department, and Mayor Jeff Gahan named Todd Bailey as the new chief. Bailey went to Henderson asking that a criminal investigation into the allegations commence.
That investigation was done by Indiana State Police’s white collar crimes unit and wrapped up in late August.
"During the course of the investigation there were 40 individuals interviewed, many officers of the New Albany police department as well as anyone else know who would have information," said Henderson. "Based on the information known to me through the investigation, I find that there have been no criminal violations that would rise to the point of criminal charges being filed."
Officer Schook’s attorney, Laura Landenwich, said she and her client are disappointed with the results and still believe there was criminal activity in the department.
“"We have not been given a copy of ISP's investigation, so we don't know what information they had access to and what the findings really were,” Landenwich said. “I understand that there were some documents that were missing that made it difficult to substantiate some of the claims.”
While there won’t be a criminal case against the New Albany Police Department, Landenwich made it clear that this story is far from over.
"That does not mean that there was not some other level of misconduct that's not necessarily criminal and we think in the civil case that's going to come out," she said.
Landenwich said she and her client are moving forward with that civil lawsuit and they think it will shed some light on the culture of corruption they believe exists in the department.
“The civil suit has to do with covering up for other officers,” Landenwich explained. “So it's a culture of silence, it's a culture of letting certain people get away with acts that are wrong.”
She also said that Schook is still seeing the consequences of coming forward and making her allegations known.
"She still has not been given the promotion that she should have gotten almost a year ago now,” said Landenwich. “She is still waiting for them to rectify the fact that she's been blacklisted and blackballed by the department."
Mayor Gahan released a statement this afternoon thanking the Indiana State Police and the Floyd County Prosecutor’s Office for looking into the matter.
“I hope that today’s announcement by Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson stating that no criminal corruption was found by the Indiana State Police will reaffirm the public’s confidence in their Police department.”
In the same release, Chief Bailey also shared his satisfaction in the investigation’s findings.
“We were confident that the matter would be investigated objectively and thoroughly, and we are pleased to hear today’s announcement by the Floyd County Prosecutor that no criminal wrongdoing was found.”
Within the next few days the City of New Albany plans to hire a third-party, independent human resources firm to conduct a workplace investigation.