County Police Chief Tim Fitch demands County Executive Charlie Dooley stop staff from obstructing investigation

6:13 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) - The I-Team has obtained a terse letter written by St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch that alleges "unethical" and "unprofessional" behavior on behalf of St. Louis County Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls.

The letter states, "Yesterday...Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Gregory was summoned to the office of the Chief Operation Officer Garry Earls...The purpose of the conversation was to ask Lt. Gregory for information that I provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the police crime lab project."

Chief Fitch claims Lt. Gregory was offended that he was asked to "breach confidential information regarding this investigation."

PDF: Read Chief Fitch's letter to County Executive Dooley

The chief continued: "Attempting to circumvent the usual course of a law enforcement investigation is at the very least unethical and unprofessional...I'd ask that you instruct your staff to not have any contact with our employees regarding this issue."

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley responded to Chief Fitch, writing, "I've spoken with Garry Earls about your accusation. He advises that he specifically stated he was not asking Lt. Gregory to divulge any confidential information."

In fact, Dooley said the meeting was to find out why Chief Fitch was not present at two meetings on Wednesday.

PDF: Read County Executive Dooley's letter to Chief Fitch

Dooley added, "Your reference to federal law on witness tampering is unwarranted. Your effort to keep an FBI investigation confidential is commendable, albeit a difficult task after having so publically announced your efforts to initiate it."

Chief Fitch declined NewsChannel 5's request for an interview, saying "the letter speaks for itself."

The FBI probe has to do with a subcontract on a county building project that was awarded to a company co-owned by Gregory Sansone, the police board chairman. Chief Fitch sought the FBI investigation due to a potential conflict of interest in the county bidding process.


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