Michael Savard, a captain with the Cincinnati Police Department, was arrested Thursday on a charge of theft and bribery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
“In a nutshell, the basic allegation is that Savard tried to shake down a sergeant for cash in exchange for guaranteeing that sergeant’s promotion to lieutenant through the timing of Savard’s retirement,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman explained at a press conference Friday.
Savard, who was already suspended for reasons that weren’t explained, asked for and accepted $5,000 in cash from a sergeant within the department and was immediately arrested on Thursday after receiving the money. In exchange for the payment, Savard agreed to retire early so that the sergeant could be promoted to lieutenant.
According to a press release, the sergeant was next in line for a promotion, but would have to retake a civil service promotional exam if Savard didn’t retire early. If the sergeant failed to perform adequately on the exam, he could end up losing eligibility for the promotion.
“Just in general, when we’re talking about a police captain who is already under investigation for receiving financial benefits as a result of employment with the Cincinnati Police Department, and then there’s an allegation that the person tries to shake down a sergeant for cash, in effect attempting to sell that person a promotion to a higher rank, we just can’t look the other way,” Glassman said during the press conference.
Glassman said the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division in partnership with the Cincinnati Police Department had been investigating Savard for several months for “various different offenses related to financial benefits that Savard received as a result of his employment with the Cincinnati Police Department.”
“This is a very tough day for CPD. When a member of our department, especially a high-ranking member, defies the public trust and is accused of this type of behavior, it impacts the entire organization and the reputation of what we try to represent, and the work that all of our officers are doing to build the public trust in the community,” Police Chief Eliot Isaac said during Friday’s press conference.
“It has, and will always be, our commitment to root out any type of corruption inside the department, and it will not be tolerated. I want the citizens of Cincinnati to know that I continue to have unwavering passion to provide them with unparalleled police service,” he added.
Savard is a 25-year veteran of the Cincinnati police force, serving as a lieutenant for 14 years and as captain of the Special Services Section for two. He was in federal court Friday afternoon when the charges against him were revealed, but has since been released from Butler County Jail on a personal bond, according to WCPO.
Savard’s status with the Cincinnati Police Department will remain suspended until a formal administrative hearing next week, Isaac explained.
His crimes carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The full press conference can be watched below:
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