July 2020 marked the beginning of Michael Castro’s career as the Mantua Police Chief. However, his career was short-lived, as he was fired less than a year later. Castro was “dismissed” at the end of March by Mayor Michael Johnson due to “personal reasons.” The mayor’s decision caused displeasure among the police officers, causing nearly all of them to resign in protest.
Less than a month after the previous police chief left, Chief Craig Hamer stepped in as Michael Castro’s replacement, but it seems that the controversies won’t leave the Mantua Police Department. Namely, there have been accusations of Hamer not having undergone a complete background check before being chosen for the role.
Was Craig Hamer Properly Vetted?
Hamer’s background check was supposed to be handled by former Mantua Police Chief Jim Jones, who claimed to have done it but has given inconsistent answers to recent inquiries on the matter.
Jones claims to have called West Jordan Police, Hamer’s previous workplace, and asked for a reference, but was denied and told that Hamer’s files were protected. In a later answer, he changed his story, saying that he needed to drive to the West Jordan Police offices to obtain a copy of the document in question. Jones didn’t do this, the reason being that he “already knew what was in it.”
However, when asked about the matter, officials from West Jordan Police said that no such request was made to their office.
Had the necessary data been procured, the Mantua Police Department would have come across Hamer’s rich collection of disciplinary reports—all 18 pages of them. The list of his offenses includes entering “repeated substantial inconsistent time entries for time actually worked,” failure to comply with dress code while on duty, instances of arresting without probable cause, lying to supervisors, and an overall lack of judgment and compassion.
In the termination letter Hamer received in November 2020, he was alleged to have violated 15 department policies.
The Importance of Background Checks
Hamer might hope to put his violations behind him, but that’s why the background check system exists. Whether it’s for serious matters such as employment and gun purchase, simply wanting to look someone up, or making sure the stranger you’re going on a date with doesn’t have a shady past, there’s a reason background checks have been around for a while. Especially in recent years, when conducting a background check can be done through a website, the whole process is simpler than ever.
Not conducting a check during the employment process of a police chief as well as trying to falsely claim to have done it doesn’t bode well for the credibility of the institution and causes the people to lose confidence in the police.