Former Bridgeport Police Chief Sentenced To Prison

BRIDGEPORT, CT — Former Bridgeport Police Chief Armando J. Perez was sentenced Monday to 12 months and one day in prison for participating in a scheme to rig the 2018 police chief examination to ensure that he would be selected for the position.

Perez, 64, of Trumbull, was also accused of making false statements to federal agents during the course of the investigation. Perez and David Dunn, the city’s personnel director, were arrested last September in connection with the investigation. Perez pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2020 in Bridgeport federal court.

In addition to the prison term, Perez was sentenced to two years of supervised release, fined $7,500 and ordered to pay restitution of $299,407.

“Former Chief Perez schemed to rig the search for a permanent police chief to ensure the position was awarded to him, and then he repeatedly lied to federal agents in order to conceal his conduct,” U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “Today’s sentence sends a strong message that public officials will be held accountable when they corruptly put their own self-interest above their duties to faithfully serve their citizens.”

Perez, who was serving as acting Bridgeport police chief at the time, was accused of conspiring with the city’s acting personnel director, Dunn, to rig the city’s search for a new police chief in 2018. The two worked to deceive the city by “secretly rigging the supposedly independent search process” for a new police chief to ensure that Perez was ranked as one of the top three candidates and could be awarded a five-year contract as chief, according to officials.

Dunn oversaw the police chief examination process and retained an outside consultant to assist with developing and carrying out the exam.

“Perez and Dunn then manipulated that examination process in multiple ways,” officials wrote in a news release. “Dunn stole confidential examination questions and related information developed by Consultant-1, and provided those materials to Perez, including by email; Dunn had Consultant-1 tailor the examination scoring criteria to favor Perez; Perez enlisted two BPD officers to secretly draft and write Perez’s written exam; and Dunn attempted to influence a panelist, tasked with ranking the candidates in the last stage of the exam, to ensure that Perez was scored as one of the top three candidates.

“As a result of the scheme, the city was deceived into ranking Perez among the top three candidates, which rendered him eligible for the permanent police chief position. The mayor ultimately offered the position to Perez, and the City, under the assurance that Perez had been appointed in accordance with the City Charter, entered into a five-year contract with Perez, the terms of which included a payout to Perez for accrued leave.”

Perez was also accused of lying to FBI agents during voluntary interviews in connection with the investigation.

“In an attempt to conceal his conduct, during those interviews he lied to FBI agents about facts material to the criminal investigation,” officials wrote. “Perez provided false and misleading information about the assistance Dunn and others had provided him in connection with the examination process, including his requests to a BPD officer to sneak into headquarters to retrieve stolen confidential information provided by Dunn.”

Dunn also pleaded guilty in connection with his role in the scheme on Oct. 5, 2020 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday.

From www.patch.com