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No Charges, Early Retirement for Officer Caught Stealing [Poll]

Det. Derek Johnson confessed to stealing money from the Marlborough evidence room.

City officials have revealed that a longtime Marlborough police detective has been caught after stealing thousands of dollars from the department's evidence room, according to a recent WHDH Channel 7 report. 

Det. Derek Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the force, has confessed to stealing more than $8,000 related to at least 10 pending cases, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office. 

Johnson, who was the officer in charge of the evidence room, has been given a deal in exchange for his confession, revealed the "Hank Investigates," segment Thursday evening. He was allowed to leave the force, cash out a $112,000 pension and return the stolen funds. As part of the deal, he will not be prosecuted for his crimes. 

When asked if the former detective got off easy, Chief Mark Leonard said to WHDH, “Absolutely not. He's no longer a police officer, the city was made whole, he's not drawing a pension for the rest of his life. If he were prosecuted criminally and we were not successful, he very well could have come back to work here!”

First-time mayor and longtime city council member Arthur Vigeant stood by Leonard's decision. 

"The number one issue was trying to find out exactly who was involved; there was only one officer involved, and he's been purged from the department," Vigeant said to WHDH.

As a result of Johnson's actions, several pending cases are compromised due to the missing and tampered with evidence. 

Do you think the chief made the right decision by offering Johnson a deal? Do you agree with the mayor—Is the city better off for it? Vote in the poll and tell us what you think in the comment field.

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bill hedin February 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Chief Leonard is the best Chief of Police in our lifetime in Marlboro. I had the pleasure of growing up with him, and he's very intelligent as well as fair. He has a tough job and I know he does it very well.
Paul Bishop February 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM
The largest issue in play here isn't even the theft of the cash. It's bad enough, granted-- I'm guessing the guy got himself in a bind somehow and saw taking the cash as a way out. The larger issue is that he has admitted to tampering with evidence in upcoming criminal prosecutions.. which will allow any defense attorney to nullify the physical evidence in the cases.. even cases where the money that was stolen WASN'T even part of the case. The evidence room has been compromised, therefore the evidence itself is suspect. Hopefully, part of the admission is that his actions only involved specific cases and evidence bins (whatever they are called), so that the OTHER evidence held in the department can be judged to be un-tampered... otherwise I can see how a LOT bigger problem than some missing cash might be coming at the city, namely the inability to prosecute a lot of OTHER crimes..
Lee Wright February 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
This is more revealing that the Chief and the Mayor intend: - Is there no internal audit to detect this earlier? - No procedural safeguards that ensure that this can not happen unilaterally? - No electronic surveillance system to document the actions so that there is no need to let the criminal escape prosecution? Further, there is no indication that anything will be done to keep this from happening again. Perhaps this was an oversight by the reporter, but given the strong negative reflection on the administration of the department by the Chief and the Mayor, one would have expected that the first message they would have delivered would been along the lines of, "We are deeply sorry we have let down the people of Marlborough and allowed this to happen. We will work to regain your trust and confidence in us by having a comprehensive audit conducted by an independent firm outside of Massachusetts and by implementing these specific procedures . . . "
Paul Bishop February 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Lee, a senior officer stole from evidence room within the police station itself. Despite your obvious desire to make this political, it is not.. it is the very evidence tracking you mention that caught him... So it is therefore your actual position that they had the forethought to put those systems in place and should be commended for their tremendous work, right? The fact he was caught clearly shows they are due the trust given them (by your argument) by the people and have done a fantastic job, having caught a person who was in a position to undermine those very security measures. That is of course unless the reality of the situation is less important than your political bias, mind you...
David February 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
The public has been robbed of due process in this case. The Chief and those who support this decision are applying their special brand of justice reserved for the brotherhood.

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