By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A former Casper police officer was charged with reckless endangering this week after getting into a fight with a man last fall, the Casper Police Department announced Tuesday.
According to department officials, following a criminal investigation into the incident, Jesse Jones, 35, was charged with one misdemeanor count of reckless endangering after a criminal investigation into the incident..
“In keeping with our long standing commitment to transparency, the Casper Police Department is releasing this information,” said Casper Chief of Police Keith McPheeters. “We hold our employees to extremely high ethical, professional and personal standards. We believe that our community expects this of its police officers. Because of this commitment, our internal expectations far exceed those required by the standards of criminal laws.”
At the time of the incident, Jones was not on duty and did not represent the police department, but was employed there at the time.
Department officials said that shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, Casper police responded to a 911 call at a home in the city. Upon arrival, the responding officer made contact with Jones, who appeared to have been involved in a physical altercation with a citizen.
The altercation was unrelated to Jones’ employment at the police department, but due to the involvement of a department employee, the investigation was turned over to the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation.
Jones was immediately placed on paid administrative leave and an internal review of the incident was initiated.
Upon completion, the internal investigation found Jones’ actions were not in line with the police department’s code of conduct, which governs aspects of the conduct of the department’s employees, both on and off duty.
Although the department chief had initiated the process of terminating Jones, the officer resigned instead in December.
Upon completion of the DCI investigation, the findings were provided to the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office, which requested assisted from the Johnson County deputy attorney to make a legal decision on the case.
On Tuesday, the criminal charge against Jones was filed.
“Our commitment to the citizens of Casper remains as it always has been – to protect and serve our community through the highest standards of professionalism in police services – and to maintain a department of selfless public servants who reflect that ideal in their personal and professional lives,” McPheeters said.