An internal probe by the Lincoln Police Department that was triggered by sexual assault allegations against a former officer has uncovered inappropriate or unethical actions by six police employees, Chief Jeff Bliemeister said Wednesday.
In addition to Greg Cody — a longtime street cop accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met on the job — two more former officers were found to have had inappropriate relationships while on the force, the chief said.
Those findings were among the results of a three-month internal inquiry into the behavior of Cody, who retired in October after coming under investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol.
Bliemeister didn't name any other officers or offer detail on their alleged misdeeds. However, he said their actions were not criminal.
The complaints against all three former officers are believed to have involved the same woman.
"The actions of the officers no longer with the department were not tolerated, undermined the public's trust and more importantly, fell short of serving a vulnerable member of our community," Bliemeister said in a statement.
Cody, 55, is accused of coercing the woman into about 50 sexual encounters beginning in 2016. He left the force Oct. 20, and was arrested Nov. 8 and charged with first-degree sexual assault of a person mentally or physically incapable of resisting.
He has pleaded not guilty, and his case is pending trial in Lancaster County District Court.
According to Bliemeister, the five other employees found to have acted inappropriately or unethically are:
* An officer who violated department policy and had an "inappropriate relationship." The Journal Star has identified that officer as Joseph Keiser, who resigned Oct. 30 after being placed on unpaid investigative suspension.
* Another officer who also had an "inappropriate relationship" before resigning in 2016.
* Two supervisors and an officer who were disciplined for violations of department policy.
Those violations included failing to follow up or report to higher-ups or internal affairs that other officers had inappropriate relationships or were engaged in misconduct, according to Internal Affairs Sgt. Grant Richards, who briefed members of the mayor's Citizen Police Advisory Board on Wednesday evening.
The board is briefed on internal affairs probes quarterly, conducts its own investigations into complaints of police misconduct and makes annual recommendations to the mayor's office.
“We took a hard, hard dive into ‘Is there something that we could have done to prevent the actions that ultimately led to the arrest of Greg Cody?” Bliemeister told board members.
He said Cody didn't have any similar internal affairs complaints prior to the chief learning about the State Patrol probe in October.
Thirty-five Lincoln Police Department employees were interviewed as part of the internal investigation that followed, the chief said. His staff also reviewed the personnel files of those officers, including the stringent background checks and polygraph exams completed before they were hired.
"If there had been something that had come up, they wouldn’t have been an employee of our agency,” Bliemeister said.
His staff sought community input, modified its general orders and re-affirmed expectations with personnel, he said.
For example, the department brought in a law enforcement speaker to discuss theories of power and control in abuse, risk management and quality assurance best practices, the chief said.
The department also has "expanded, ongoing education planned in the future," the chief said in his statement to the media and public.
The supervisors' discipline was both punitive and educational, he told advisory board members: “I know from the process that they will continue to be valuable employees in the future."
Lincoln police conducted twice as many internal affairs probes last year than in 2016. The 30 formal inquiries in 2017 focused on 45 employees, according to Richards.
The chief attributed the increase to the Cody probe, which itself spawned four other formal internal investigations.
Following Wednesday's briefing, board members unanimously voted that they found no pattern of misconduct within the Lincoln Police Department.
Board Chairman Micheal Q. Thompson, an account manager at National Research Corp., applauded the chief's handling of the Cody investigation.
Thompson called the chief's straight-forward approach valuable to the community at a time when sexual harassment and assault is garnering national attention.
"I think you did the right thing by being totally transparent,” Thompson said.