Archive for Thursday, February 26, 2004

Former Baldwin officer recertified

February 26, 2004

A former Baldwin police officer who had his certification revoked by the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center has been recertified as an officer.

Bill Dempsey, who resigned from the Baldwin City Police Department last July, had his certification revoked by KLETC after a background check revealed he had been convicted of a felony.

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Dempsey appealed KLETC's decision, and last Thursday the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Commission reversed the decision and recertified him, according to Baldwin City Police Chief Mike McKenna.

Dempsey could not be reached for comment.

McKenna said Dempsey's appeal did not involve the city of Baldwin.

"The litigation occurred between the KLETC and Dempsey," McKenna said. "This wasn't between us and him. This was between the training center and Dempsey."

In June, Dempsey was given a "notice of disciplinary action" and suspended with pay when it was discovered during police department background checks that he had been convicted of auto theft in San Diego County, Calif., in 1964 when he was 19 years old. In 1973, the felony was expunged from his record.

Dempsey resigned a month after his suspension before any decision regarding the issue could be made by the city council.

KLETC revoked his certification because state statute prohibits a convicted felon from serving as a law enforcement officer. Dempsey and his attorney Dennis Hawver argued at the time that because his record had been expunged, it shouldn't have an affect on his status as a law enforcement officer.

Calls to Ed Pavey, the director of KLETC, were not immediately returned.

McKenna wouldn't say how the decision would affect Baldwin and its police department, in part because no official documentation had yet been received by the city.

"We haven't received any written correspondence on this," he said. "We need to see the written decision of the commission."

McKenna also stressed that Dempsey was not fired from his position as corporal with the Baldwin police department.

"Mr. Dempsey resigned," he said. "He resigned before a decision was made by the council."

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