Former Wichita, Kansas police officer Jolleta Vallejo is finding out that two wrongs don’t make a right.
The 35-year-old woman has been fired from the Wichita police department and sentenced to one year of probation after it was found that she incorrectly handled a reported car theft and then paid the victim to change his story to police.
Court documents state that on October 16, 2011, a woman was assaulted by her boyfriend, Larry Edmonds. Vallejo took the report and opened up a domestic violence case. That same night, another man called saying Edmonds stole his car. The car theft victim called a police help hotline, of which a representative told him to report the theft to a Wichita police officer.
When the man reported the case to Vallejo, she refused to accept it and told the man to again call the hotline. Ultimately, Edmonds was arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping, robbery, and first-degree murder. But when the Wichita police department investigated Vallejo’s handling of the car theft, they found failed to follow police protocol. Here’s where it gets interesting.
After hearing that the department found she handled the cases incorrectly, Vallejo feared she would be fired. In an effort to save her job, Vallejo offered in secret to pay the car theft victim $150 to change his statement about Vallejo’s handling of the case. If Vallejo was able to keep her job, she agreed to give the man another $150.
Her plan was ultimately foiled and she was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She was initially charged with bribing a witness – a felony charge punishable by 5-20 years in prison – but prosecutors dropped the charges. Vallejo’s one year probation sentence seems pretty lenient, especially considering her friend whose only role in the scheme was arranging and driving to the payment meeting was sentenced to two years probation.
Then again, I guess we should all know by now that law enforcement officer's routinely get off easy for offenses ordinary citizens serve big jail time for. Police privilege, anyone?