Allegations of an Inappropriate Relationship Hit U.S. Capitol Police

A police car drive past as it reacts after shots fired were reported near 2nd Street NW and Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2013. The US Capitol was placed on security lockdown Thursday after shots were fired outside the complex, senators said. 'Shots fired outside the Capitol. We are in temporary lock down,' Senator Claire McCaskill said on Twitter. Police were seen running within the Capitol building and outside as vehicles swarmed to the scene. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Billy House
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Billy House
June 10, 2014, 2:53 p.m.

A high-rank­ing U.S. Cap­it­ol Po­lice of­fi­cial — one of the de­part­ment’s five deputy chiefs — is un­der scru­tiny be­cause of com­plaints that he en­gaged in an in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­la­tion­ship with a sub­or­din­ate.

One of the is­sues is wheth­er that re­la­tion­ship led to a trans­fer for the sub­or­din­ate to what many on the force con­sider a plum new as­sign­ment in the de­part­ment’s back­ground-in­vest­ig­a­tions sec­tion, ac­cord­ing to mul­tiple sources.

A griev­ance was sub­mit­ted, but the uni­on for Cap­it­ol Po­lice of­ficers says it is now tak­ing a wait-and-see ap­proach to how Po­lice Chief Kim Dine handles the mat­ter. The al­leg­a­tions have stoked sig­ni­fic­ant in­dig­na­tion and re­sent­ment among many rank-and-file of­ficers, some of whom are wary that any­thing will be done by Dine, who took over the de­part­ment’s helm in Decem­ber 2012.

“In the past, un­der dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship, the uni­on has felt that the de­part­ment hasn’t handled al­leg­a­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate per­son­al con­duct, re­la­tion­ships, or sexu­al har­ass­ment in­volving su­per­visors prop­erly,” ac­cord­ing to an “of­fi­cial com­ment” provided Tues­day from the United States Cap­it­ol Po­lice Labor Com­mit­tee.

That state­ment con­tin­ues: “As in any in­vest­ig­a­tion, the uni­on be­lieves every­one is en­titled to due pro­cess re­gard­less of the cir­cum­stances. Out of re­spect to Chief Dine, who de­serves a chance to change the cul­ture with­in the USCP, we will with­hold fur­ther com­ment un­til any in­vest­ig­a­tion that may be go­ing on is con­cluded and the facts are known.”

Sources have provided the names of the deputy chief and the of­ficer, neither of whom re­turned tele­phone calls.

Many with­in the de­part­ment’s ranks view the job trans­fer earli­er this year as an ab­rupt el­ev­a­tion for the of­ficer in­to the de­part­ment’s ad­min­is­trat­ive ranks. Her pre­vi­ous as­sign­ment was on a de­tail at­tached to the Sen­ate of­fice build­ings out­side of the Cap­it­ol.

“It’s a cushy job, and he got her the job,” said one de­part­ment source, speak­ing of the deputy chief. The source spoke on the con­di­tion of an­onym­ity, cit­ing po­ten­tial re­per­cus­sions from de­part­ment­al high­er-ups.

In fact, so charged has be­come the at­mo­sphere with­in the de­part­ment that sev­er­al of­ficers this week dis­closed that a form­al griev­ance was sub­mit­ted — and was even pub­licly pos­ted for oth­er uni­on mem­bers to read. But they said the griev­ance has since been re­moved from a site, and that it was their un­der­stand­ing the of­ficer in­volved found him­self the sub­ject of dis­cip­lin­ary ac­tion.

The chair­man of the Cap­it­ol Po­lice Labor Com­mit­tee’s ex­ec­ut­ive board, Jim Kon­czos, said that story is simply not true.

“The griev­ance was pos­ted and re­moved be­cause it lis­ted names,” said Kon­czos, in an email re­sponse. He ad­ded, “The griev­ance was pulled at this time but could be re­sub­mit­ted and re­writ­ten at a later date.”

“Any griev­ance pos­ted by the uni­on will not name names,” said Kon­czos, who ad­ded that he did not know who pos­ted it. “We grieve con­tract and policy vi­ol­a­tions, not in­di­vidu­als. There is nev­er any reas­on to list names.”

Mean­while, the U.S. Cap­it­ol Po­lice In­spect­or Gen­er­al has been look­ing in­to the al­leg­a­tions of im­pro­pri­ety, ac­cord­ing to sources.

Of­fi­cially, Dine and the de­part­ment are not say­ing much about the con­tro­versy.

A state­ment re­leased Monday by a de­part­ment spokes­wo­man — on the con­di­tion only that it be pub­lished in its en­tirety — un­der­scored, “The U.S. Cap­it­ol Po­lice does not com­ment on per­son­nel mat­ters to help en­sure the in­teg­rity of our in­tern­al pro­cesses and in­vest­ig­a­tions and the pri­vacy of our em­ploy­ees.” And it ad­ded, “The De­part­ment cau­tions against pub­lish­ing un­sub­stan­ti­ated in­form­a­tion that may im­pact our em­ploy­ees’ pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al lives.”

The state­ment then of­fers that, “Gen­er­ally, it is a man­age­ment right to as­sign work to carry out the mis­sion of the De­part­ment.”

“With re­gard to the au­thor­it­ies of the USCP In­spect­or Gen­er­al, the OIG is a stat­utor­ily es­tab­lished in­de­pend­ent of­fice and has the au­thor­ity and re­spons­ib­il­ity to su­per­vise and con­duct audits, in­spec­tions, and in­vest­ig­a­tions in­volving USCP pro­grams, func­tions, sys­tems, or op­er­a­tions,” the state­ment ex­plained.

A spokes­wo­man for House Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mit­tee Chair­wo­man Can­dice Miller, R-Mich., did not re­spond to in­quir­ies about wheth­er that pan­el has been made aware of the con­tro­versy.

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