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St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Commission fires police chief for violation of financial policies

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AKWESASNE - The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Commission said Thursday that they have fire Police Chief Andrew Thomas following an internal audit.

In a press release issued Thursday, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe said:

On July 24, 2014, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Commission terminated the chief of police, Andrew Thomas.

Stemming from an inquiry from a community member about the practice of the department to accept only cash payments for towing and storage fees upon impoundment of vehicles, an investigation into the practice was launched by the tribe’s chief financial officer. When requested documentation was not provided, the CFO notified the tribe’s compliance officer and an internal audit process commenced.

The integrity of records received by the tribe’s Finance Department warranted the suspension of Mr. Thomas. Formal disciplinary charges were filed on July 7, 2014. The charges included gross misconduct and disregard of tribal and regulatory policies, failure to abide by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department policies and procedures, failure to reconcile receipts and funds per the procurement policy and personnel policy violation.

Following a disciplinary hearing held on July 15, 2014, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Commission, in a unanimous vote, terminated the employment of Mr. Thomas.

The Police Commission, comprised of five community members, is responsible for oversight of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department. The Police Commission takes its role as an independent oversight body for the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department very seriously and is committed to protecting the integrity of the department and of the policing services provided by the committed officers and personnel of the department.

The Police Commission provided the following statement concerning the termination:

“We believe that the investigation conducted by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal corporate compliance officer and the tribal chief financial officer has been thorough and has identified all personnel responsible for the fund.

“We will continue to take appropriate steps to ensure the integrity of the department and to provide the community of Akwesasne with a professional and effective law enforcement agency that supports the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s duty to maintain the health, safety, education and welfare of all members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe by addressing issues of misconduct when they are brought to our attention.

“The investigation occurred as a result of a community member making an inquiry. The commission assures the community that any complaint or inquiry regarding the conduct of the department will be properly investigated and steps will be taken to address any issues or potential issues that arise.”

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