Wichita’s police chief says the department had “significant involvement” in a federal investigation that has brought charges against six people, including three former law enforcement officers. An affidavit says FBI investigators have been looking into an illegal gambling business with ties to public corruption in Wichita since November 2011.
Chief Gordon Ramsay says he first heard about the investigation about a month after he started in 2016.
An indictment released Thursday brought charges against two Wichita police officers and a man accused of operating an illegal poker game four years ago. The officers are accused of using department resources to reveal the identity of an undercover investigator at the game.
“It weighs heavily on us," Ramsay said at a media briefing Friday. "Community support is critical to our success, so we are doubling down on engagement and outreach, and focused on relationships."
Ramsay made several policy changes in the last year, including having other agencies investigate Wichita Police employees accused of a crime, creating a Citizen Review Board, and placing accused personnel on unpaid—instead of paid—administrative leave during an investigation.
"Since arriving here, I have been raising the bar and have been working on setting higher expectations for all staff at all levels," Ramsay said. "It is critical that law enforcement officials and agencies operate ethically and beyond reproach. There is no place for unethical behavior on this police department."
The indictment charges police officers Michael Zajkowski of Wichita and Bruce Mackey of Goddard, along with gambling operator Brock Wedman of St. Marys, with obstructing law enforcement. Wedman is also charged with lying to the FBI.
Wichita Police say one officer resigned Thursday, and the other stepped down last year. A spokesman would not confirm the ranks of Mackey or Zajkowski, saying only that one was an officer and one was a lieutenant.
Retired Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Michael Frederiksen of Derby is charged with two counts of lying to the FBI about his participation in the February 2014 illegal poker game and contacts with the man running the illegal gambling business.
Zajkowski and Mackey are accused of using Wichita Police Department resources to determine the ownership of a vehicle driven by the person whom they suspected was an undercover investigator. Prosecutors say the men revealed the identity of the officer to Wedman and other co-conspirators, and that Frederiksen, while still a Highway Patrol trooper, was a player in that game.
Two Wichita men -- Danny Chapman and Daven Flax -- pleaded guilty last week to federal gambling and income tax charges for their roles in the 2014 game. Chapman pleaded guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business and one count of tax evasion. Flax pleaded guilty to two counts of operating an illegal gambling business and one count of making a false statement on a tax return. Flax admitted he managed illegal games at numerous locations in Wichita.
Ramsay says the investigation is still open, and his department continues to be involved.
Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.
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