Gary police officer charged in ghost employment, theft

2013-04-04T19:08:00Z 2013-04-04T22:45:03Z Gary police officer charged in ghost employment, theftSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | Prosecutors have charged a full-time Gary police officer with also holding a full-time position as a county corrections officer and a part-time job with a Gary trucking firm.

Jennifer Powell, 36, is charged with ghost employment and two counts of theft, all felonies carrying a penalty of between six months and three years in jail upon conviction.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday, Indiana State Police began investigating Powell's work activities in January at the request of Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram.

Powell had been discovered working two jobs simultaneously for a two- to three-hour overlap several times over the course of 2012, the affidavit states.

Powell holds full-time positions with the Gary police and the Lake County Sheriff's Department, where she worked at the Lake County Jail. In addition, Powell holds a part-time job at Jack Gray Transport Inc., in Gary.

The investigation revealed between April 22, 2012, and Oct. 5, 2012, Powell worked at the Lake County Jail and the Gary Police Department a total of four separate days and that her hours overlapped at a loss of 10 hours to the Police Department, the affidavit states.

Between April 29, 2012, and Jan. 22, 2013,  Powell worked at the Lake County Jail and Jack Gray Transport for a total of 93.5 hours, or $1,870, lost to the transport company, according to the affidavit.

An official with Jack Gray Transport told police Powell was employed as a security officer and that they are required to remain at the trucking company during their shift although they are allowed to walk around for normal breaks, the affidavit states.

Powell also was paid for five extra hours per week for administrative duties at the company and also for overseeing other security guards during their shifts, according to the trucking official.

She should not have been paid by the company during hours Powell was being paid as a police officer, the official told police.

Deputy Warden Tracy Kimmel, of the Lake County Jail, confirmed Powell's hours and pay at the jail, according to the affidavit.

An internal affairs detective with Gary police told investigators Powell failed to fill out an Off Duty Authorization form to work any side jobs since her primary employment was with the Gary Police Department.

Ingram released a prepared statement through the City of Gary. 

"It is always unfortunate when those who have been entrusted to enforce and uphold the law fail to do so themselves," he said. "This investigation and filed charges prove that unlawful behavior will not be tolerated and that no one is above the law."

Powell was expected to surrender Thursday but was not in custody Thursday evening.

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