Internal probe focuses on entire Newport police patrol staff

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The entire patrol staff of the small Newport Police Department is under internal investigation, but little additional information about the investigation is available.

While Newport officials did not provide details about the probe, the Forum News Service reports that all five of the department's patrol officers are "currently under internal investigation," according to a summary of the complaints against the officers.

Complaints were filed recently against three officers who work for the south metro suburban department. The broader investigation comes less than a month after another officer was named in a complaint.

"All I can say is that right now there is an investigation and the city is following through," Newport City Attorney Fritz Knaak said. He declined to say whether the complaints were filed by a Newport citizen or city official.

To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, law enforcement departments frequently turn to an outside agency to review internal issues. Forum News reported that Newport Police Chief Curt Montgomery declined comment about whether an outside agency had been solicited to conduct an investigation on behalf of or in conjunction with the city.

Last month, the South Washington Bulletin reported that Newport police officer David Crist was the subject of an internal investigation following a complaint being filed against him. Crist first began his career with the Newport Police Department as a community service officer; he was promoted to a police officer position in October of 2012.

At its May 1 meeting, the Newport City Council was scheduled to discuss “employee discipline issues and pending litigation” during a closed session following the regular meeting but Mayor Tim Geraghty pulled the item from the agenda. Knaak said at the time that the council wanted more time to discuss allegations.

None of the officers has been placed on leave during the investigation.

The website for the city of Newport notes the department has five officers.

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