ROMULUS (WWJ) – The Wayne County prosecutor says she plans today to announce details of her investigation into corruption allegations against several members of the Romulus police department — including its former chief.
Former Romulus Police Chief Michael St. Andre, and his wife, turned themselves in to Michigan State Police on Monday following a corruption investigation.
Just last week, four Romulus police officers were suspended without pay for 30 days for “conduct unbecoming of an officer” in connection with their roles in an undercover operation.
Last March, State Police raided the police department, leaving with boxes and bags of potential evidence. The same day, they raided St. Andre’s home in Garden City and a tanning salon in Westland owned by St. Andre’s wife, Sandy. Investigators would not say what they were looking for, but sources said it was part of an ongoing probe.
Earlier this month, St. Andre said in a statement that “being on this side of the investigation does take a lot out of you when you know you’ve done nothing wrong.”
At that time, Romulus Mayor Alan Lambert said the investigation stemmed from allegations secretaries in the department were paid with drug forfeiture money.
St. Andre stepped down earlier this month, claiming pressure from the ongoing investigation and illness in his family. Romulus named a new police chief, Robert Dickerson, a 25-year veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.
WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke Monday with Chief Dickerson, who said the four suspended officers engaged in “inappropriate conduct” on the job.
“I came on this job and I looked into that case and it was apparent that they did some illicit things that I thought were not good moral things to do,” said Dickerson.
Dickerson would not elaborate as to the nature of these “things,” but did say he has taken the officers’ actions seriously.
“I told them that if they ever did any of those things again, or if they committed a felony, that they would be fired and they would never be police officers for the city of Romulus again,” he said.
WWJ’s Sandra McNeil asked Dickerson about the mood in the department following the arrests.
“No police officer in any police department wants to work with someone who is, you know, a crook,” said Dickerson.
“I’m not saying these officers are crooks yet, but if they’re found guilty of anything … related to this investigation then I can bet you that these officers here would say I can’t work with a crook, and they shouldn’t have to,” he said.
Some Romulus residents, including James Flatt, are disgusted by the spectre of police being on the wrong side of the law.
“I feel sorry for their families and I feel sorry for them. That police chief told them to do a job and they overextended the jobs. I mean, how would you like to live in a community where you don’t know what the police are doing?” Flatt said.
“You figure the cops are supposed to be there to protect the people instead of messing with them. A small town as it is, it don’t need that kind of publicity,” said a resident.
“Needless to say, something like this really shakes the town up. But we’ll just pick up the pieces and move on,” said another man.
A media conference is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Stay with WWJ for the latest.