One officer wrote nearly 80 percent of the city's marijuana citations. Why was that fact hidden from Chief Kathleen O'Toole?
This mystery goes straight to the core of the police department's troubles: How well is reform proceeding if something like this can happen? Are mid-level staff hiding damaging information from the chief? And can she prevent it from happening again?
O'Toole says she didn't hear about the problems until six days after the SPD transmitted a report about marijuana citations to the city council. "It was after work hours, and three people on my staff called and said there are some significant concerns about this report," O'Toole recalls. She says she heard the news from SPD chief operating officer Mike Wagers, the SPD's Virginia Gleason, and Sergeant Sean Whitcomb. "They said, 'Did you know 80 percent were written by one officer?' I said, 'I didn't know that.' That was first I learned." O'Toole then made the decision to share the news publicly.
Why did it take whistleblowers to bring this to the chief's attention, instead of the researchers who were paid to report this sort of thing? Did someone in the chain of command try to suppress the information?
"I always have concerns if someone suspects there could be a potential cover-up, but I can't jump to conclusions at this point," O'Toole says. She says this investigation extends beyond Officer Randy Jokela. "We have to figure out who was involved and the chronology of it all," she said, adding that "researchers, supervisors, and command staff will be questioned to determine who knew what when—and what they did about it."