An off-duty Wichita police officer is suspected of drinking and driving and sideswiping another car and then driving off despite shouts from the other driver to pull over, records say.
The department covered up the incident, a detective who worked in internal affairs at the time has said.
The department changed a police report to list the driver as unknown. That happened after the officer had already identified herself as the driver, police records show.
Now, the FBI is investigating the Police Department’s internal investigation of the officer – Tiffany Dahlquist – a private investigator said.
Her attorney, Jonathan McConnell, denied that she was involved in an accident or is the target of any criminal investigation.
“It appears that several individuals have a personal vendetta against the Wichita Police Department, and it appears that you have a lot of bad facts,” McConnell said.
“In my heart, do not believe that Tiffany was involved in an accident.”
The federal investigation resulted in subpoenas being delivered by FBI agents to Wichita police supervisors last month, said the private investigator, Colin Gallagher, based on information provided to him by law enforcement personnel.
It is not clear how the FBI investigation began.
Some concerns within the department are laid out in a deposition given in May by Detective Lance Oldridge in an unrelated lawsuit against the city over a police shooting.
Oldridge testified in the deposition that his supervisors covered up misconduct by an off-duty officer suspected of driving drunk in a hit-and-run accident.
The testimony didn’t identify Dahlquist by name, but the circumstances described by Oldridge match the Sept. 11, 2016, incident for which Dahlquist was investigated.
“I was assigned to an investigation … as an Internal Affairs investigative police officer, and I felt there was misconduct being covered up,” Oldridge said in the deposition.
Oldridge also testified that his supervisor was “repeatedly throwing up roadblocks to me accomplishing what I believe my job was to do.”
Oldridge would not comment when contacted by The Eagle. FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said she can’t confirm or deny an investigation.
Police Chief Gordon Ramsay said: “I can’t confirm the existence of an outside agency’s investigation.” He also said the city can’t comment on personnel matters.
“We are going to continue to work tirelessly to improve the trust of our community.”
The issues surrounding the police and federal investigations raise questions about whether the Police Department treats its officers differently than the public. It is a misdemeanor to leave the scene of an accident where there is property damage.
Wichita Municipal Court does not show any record of charges or tickets connected to the hit- and-run case.
Dahlquist was terminated on Feb. 13, 2017, and reinstated four days later, according to Officer Charley Davidson, the Police Department spokesman. She is still employed by the department and working out of Patrol North, he said.