An entire Tennessee police force is under investigation after more than $12,000 went missing from a dead man’s estate.
Cash in the amount of $19,962 was found in the home of Jimmy Wayne Smith, who was found dead in April from natural causes, according to court documents obtained by My Fox Memphis,
Millington Police Department took all of the cash and placed in a “safekeepings” room, along with medications in his name.
When Smith’s brother went to the department to collect the money, over $12,000 of it was gone.
Smith’s brother then took his complaint to the Shelby County District Attorney, Amy Weirich, who asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to step in and investigate.
TBI is now investigating the whole entire Millington department, and according to information obtained by My Fox, their sights are set on five officers. So far, only one of those five cops in the spotlight of TBI’s oversight has already obtained a lawyer.
“On August 20th this situation came to light. All proper authorities have been notified and the City of Millington is cooperating fully. This is an active investigation, therefore we have no further comment.” said Millington Mayor Terry Jones to local station MyFox13.
In a Stanford study published in 1999, called ‘Controlling Police Corruption,’ Stuart A. White wrote in depth on the corruption within police departments, and how the corruption occurring on a departmental level can turn average cops into crooks themselves.
It details how taking money from drug busts to line the department’s pockets can lead employees to believe that they, too, deserve a cut of the action.
“Now, officers see themselves behaving like this for the department, and they ask themselves why the department, and thus all its employees should be the only beneficiary when it is individuals that are in the trenches. They do not disagree that the department should benefit from confiscated contraband, they just think that they should directly benefit also. Policies like this can change perfectly honest, but insecure officers into average crooks. The challenge is to avoid such pitfalls.” White wrote.
In conclusion, White surmised that the only way to stop creating crooked cops would be to end corruption within the forces themselves on a higher level.
“Since corruption of this kind has existed in the police force since ad infinitum, it is conceivable that some or all of these methods have been attempted in some capacity. Another answer, but one that I cannot construct, might be to change the entire ideology and system of policing and punishment. That, I leave to prosperity.”
Perhaps, the TBI investigation of Millington PD will lead to a result like Camden, NJ who disbanded their ineffective police force in exchange for a dedicated County level department.
Until firm action is taken, we’ll see more offenders like these Tennesee police who set out to prove that you can’t take it all with you, and wound up proving that you can’t trust the police to keep anything safe, least of which your hard earned money.