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Officer plans civil suit against agency after corrupt conduct allegations

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Laura Schook Laura Schook

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - An attorney for a New Albany police officer claims a civil suit is in the works against NAPD after allegations of corrupt conduct.

Laura Landenwich represents Patrol Officer Laura Schook, a 19-year veteran, who informed New Albany's Police Merit Commission about corruption, discrimination and misuse of taxpayer money during a meeting May 8.

"That wasn't the first time my client informed the merit commission. In fact, this has been going on for years - all the way back to 2010 and even before that," Landenwich said. "We're still determining our best course of action through the court system," she said.

Schook read a statement during the May 8 merit commission meeting about the police agency's failure to respond to complaints of misconduct she made in March.

Landenwich said concerns that Schook articulated to her superiors have led to retaliation.

"She didn't get backup when she needed it which is terribly dangerous and no officer of the law should be faced with that," Landenwich said.

Landenwich alleged prior to Chief Sherri Knight's current position, Knight ignored Schook's complaints of certain officers padding their time sheets.

"My client notified her supervisor of theft of taxpayer money and officers abandoning their post. After bringing those complaints to, who was then Major Knight, Officer Schook became the target of focused retaliation," Landenwich said.

"More specifically, Sgt. Gary Humphrey was known among his superiors and his subordinates, that if he was on shift you could find him outside River City Winery," Landenwich said. Humphrey is a co-owner of River City Winery on Pearl Street in New Albany,

"We don't know how many thousands of taxpayer dollars have been abused," Laura Landenwich said.

Landenwich said Schook also started receiving negative performance reviews after she was known as the whistleblower.

"She even received a poor attendance review after missing several weeks of work because of a broken ankle. I mean, she had surgery on it," Landenwich said.

Performance reviews are included in the formula the merit commission uses to elevate officers, along with exams and statistics related to arrests.

"She has been there 19 years and can't get a promotion," Landenwich said.

Chief Knight continues to reject Schook's claims and stands by the following statement:

"The New Albany Police Department absolutely denies any allegations of misconduct," said Chief Sherri Knight. "The New Albany Police Department has operated and will continue to operate in an efficient and ethical manner. The complaints of Officer Schook were fully investigated and resolved in 2008 and 2010 when the original complaints were filed. The Department welcomes the review by the New Albany Police Merit Commission."

WAVE 3 News attempted to contact Chief Knight and Sgt. Gary Humphrey for additional comments but they did not return phone calls.

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