Police chief accused of rigging his own hiring resigns

Full Screen
1 / 3

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Bridgeport Police Chief Armando "A.J." Perez leaves the Brien McMahon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse out a back door, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Bridgeport, Conn. Perez, the police chief of Connecticut's largest city, was arrested Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, on federal charges that he teamed with Bridgeport's personnel director to rig the hiring process to make sure he'd get his job, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The police chief of Connecticut's largest city resigned Thursday hours after being arrested on federal charges that he teamed with Bridgeport's personnel director to rig the hiring process to ensure he got the job two years ago.

Mayor Joe Ganim said that Chief Armando “A.J.” Perez resigned and that he named Assistant Chief Rebeca Garcia as acting chief after federal prosecutors in New York and FBI officials in Connecticut announced the arrests of Perez and David Dunn, the city’s acting personnel director.

Perez, 64, of Trumbull, Connecticut, and Dunn, 72, of Stratford, Connecticut, were each charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and with making false statements to investigators.

Both appeared via video before a federal judge in Bridgeport and were allowed to remain free on $150,000 bail. They did not enter pleas.

Messages seeking comment were left with Perez and his lawyer, Robert Frost Jr. Dunn’s lawyer, Frederick Paoletti, declined to comment. Their next court date is Sept. 24.

A criminal complaint alleged Perez and Dunn defrauded the city of 144,000 people by rigging the 2018 police chief examination to put Perez in position to secure the post as head of a police department with an annual budget of over $100 million and more than 400 officers.

The previous police chief had resigned in March 2016.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in New York City said the men corrupted what was supposed to be an impartial and objective search for a permanent police chief “and then repeatedly lied to federal agents in order to conceal their conduct.”