Pubdate: Tue, 16 Dec 2008
Source: Altoona Mirror (PA)
Copyright: 2008 Altoona Mirror
Author: Greg Bock
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


Supporters Say Tyrone Officer Greg Ray Being Harassed By Ongoing Drug

TYRONE - Supporters of a Tyrone Borough police officer caught up in
an internal investigation spoke out Monday night against what they
say are coercive tactics and harassment by private investigators
hired by officials on a ''witch hunt.''

Christy Ray, wife of 18-year police force veteran Greg Ray, scolded
Borough Council for the investigation of her husband - one she said
has been going on for more than a year and is a repeat of a fruitless
investigation 10 years ago into allegations Ray sold drugs from his
police cruiser.

''My husband has a lot of faults, but drugs are not one of them,''
she said.

She accused Police Chief Joe Beachem of orchestrating a ''witch
hunt'' against Ray, who also is the police union liaison with the
borough, and she said while council members have been asking
questions about the investigation, no one has bothered to talk with
Greg  Ray.

Borough officials, including Beachem, declined to comment on the
internal investigation brought up during the public comment period of
Monday's council meeting. Mayor Jim Kilmartin confirmed that the
borough was looking into a personnel issue within the police 
department but said he wasn't at liberty to discuss the matter.

''I'm sick of this fantasy world,'' said Troy Walk, borough resident
and fiance of full-time borough police officer Jessica Barlick, who
he said has suffered repercussions for not agreeing with the
investigation and providing borough officials with what they wanted.

Walk said there were ''some serious, serious'' problems with the
tactics employed by the borough police administration, including
offers to ''let people out of DUIs'' if they helped get evidence
against Ray.

''It's intimidation all the time,'' Walk said of the scrutiny of Ray
and anyone who doesn't toe the line in the investigation. ''Who's
going to stick up for us?''

Kylee Wallace told the council that her fiancee, part-time officer
Matt Plummer, has been blackballed for not giving a statement against
Ray, and while he's now collecting unemployment, Tyrone is
advertising for  part-time officers.

Ray defended her husband by noting that he has passed every drug test
given and volunteered to undertake further, more stringent testing,
but the intrusion into their lives continues.

''He's served the people of this community for 18 years, and this is
how you repay him,'' Ray said as she explained that the investigation
is harming his reputation in the community.
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