Frankfort police have launched a separate investigation into whether the alleged use of a police gas card to fuel an officer’s personal vehicle warrants criminal charges, according to city documents.
However, authorities continue to withhold key details about the case, citing the ongoing investigation. Frankfort Police Maj. Lynn Aubrey said that information could be made available at the conclusion of criminal and administrative investigations.
"This matter is an open and active criminal and administrative investigation at this time...," Aubrey wrote. "Release of this information prior to the filing of charges would hamper our ability to conduct the needed interviews and complete the investigation."
The State Journal filed an open records request with the city last week after learning of the allegations.
The name of the officer, how FPD became aware of the alleged misuse of the gas card, how long the alleged use of the card spanned and the extent to which it had been used to fuel a personal vehicle are among the details that remain unanswered.
The newspaper sought notices of suspension filed against any FPD officer in the past month and any emails among city staff regarding the suspension of a police officer.
However, city officials denied the request.
They cited an exemption in Kentucky's public records law for "records of law enforcement agencies or agencies involved in administrative adjudication" compiled in the investigation of statutory or regulatory violations "if the disclosure of the information would harm the agency by revealing the identity of informants not otherwise known or by premature release of information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action or administrative adjudication." It goes on to say that the records could be released whether or not action is taken, or the information could remain exempt from public viewing if deemed necessary by "county attorneys or commonwealth's attorneys."
"Release of the information prior to final action will harm the investigations due to critical details discussed within the records that will be part of necessary interviews and evidence gathering," city officials wrote.
Authorities have so far only confirmed that an investigation was opened last week into whether an officer used a patrol vehicle gas card to fuel a personal vehicle. The officer has been suspended without pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.
If criminal charges result, they could range from misdemeanors to serious felonies.
Theft by unlawful taking of under $500 is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. If it is above $500 but under $10,000, it is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. And a charge of theft by unlawful taking of more than $10,000 is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.