Six Philadelphia officers were arrested in a corruption sting operation. The narcotics officers are accused of stealing over $500,000 worth of cash, drugs, and luxury items -- while employed with the Philadelphia Police Department.
The arrests follow a 26-count indictment, which was issued by the United States Attorney's Office. In addition to theft, the officers are accused of numerous other crimes. The charges include buying and selling drugs, extortion, kidnapping, and robbery.
Federal authorities said the crimes took place throughout a period of six years between 2006 and 2012.
The officers named in the indictment include Perry Betts, Thomas Liciardello, Linwood Norman, Brian Reynolds, John Speiser, and Michael Spicer. Following their arrest, the six Philadelphia officers were placed on a 30-day suspension.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey confirmed his "intent to dismiss" all six officers from the division. He also underlined the fact that the officers "don't represent the majority" of the police division.
U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said the indictments are specifically disheartening, as police officers are expected to protect and serve:
"Unfortunately, a very small percentage of police officers continue to toss their oath aside and act like the very criminals they have sworn to bring to justice... The defendants used their positions of authority to target suspected drug dealers for purposes of stealing cash, personal property and drugs."
After the Six Philadelphia officers were arrested, officials were forced to close several hundred open narcotics cases. Additionally, they were forced to overturn nearly 100 drug convictions.
Federal authorities were alerted to the corruption during a May 2013 sting operation. In the prior sting, narcotic officer Jeffrey Walker was observed planting cocaine in a suspect's vehicle. He then arrested the suspect, took his keys, and broke into his home.
Walker was eventually arrested and charged with numerous federal counts -- to which he plead guilty. Following Walker's arrest, federal officials initiated an investigation into six other officers. As reported by CBS News, it is unclear whether Walker contributed to or participated in the investigation of his former colleagues.
In an effort to counteract the negative repercussions, Commissioner Ramsey has vowed to focus on transparency and community relations:
"We will continue to be transparent; we will continue to pursue those involved in corruption, and remove those who don't belong in this department. We will continue to make strong efforts in developing trusting relationships with every community as we build a safer Philadelphia for our citizens."
[Image via PHawker]