KINGSTON — For the first time in 20 years at the Kingston Police Department, Chief Keith Keiper is not active with the force.
Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty said the chief is officially on administrative leave with pay.
“This is not an investigation into whether there`s theft, or nefarious conduct,” stressed the Mayor.
But that investigation comes two weeks after Kingston officials learned of an IRS probe of Friday night dances at Wyoming Valley West Middle School in Kingston.
For decades, dances raised thousands for the Student Government Association, but Middle School officials admit the school never provided detailed accounts of how much money the dances took in or how money was spent.
The investigation brought attention to Kingston’s Police Department because for years, off-duty officers provided security for the dances.
The school paid officers cash.
Under that plan, Kingston officials said their insurance would not cover medical costs of any officers or students who might get hurt in an incident at one of the dances.
So in 2009, officers were put on-duty for the dances. They were paid overtime, and the municipality billed the school system for the overtime pay.
Haggerty said Chief Keiper was responsible to make sure these changes were actually made.
“They`re important. We need to know that they`re followed,” said Mayor Haggerty. “We know that they were followed in a lot of events. We`re not sure they were always followed, we need to get to the bottom of that.”
In addition to school dances, Haggerty said Kingston officials will look at how officers were paid for providing security at Wyoming Seminary School events, and at Wyoming Valley West High School football and basketball games.
Haggerty expects the investigation that led to Chief Keiper’s administrative leave to be brief.