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Tea Police Dept. Under Investigation



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A former police chief and police officer in Tea who unexpectedly quit their jobs last week are being looked at closer.

After doing some research on former police chief Brian Ketterhagen and former police officer James Klimple, the Lincoln County State's Attorney, Thomas Wollman said he would look at all criminal cases in Tea for the last two years, to make sure there are no flaws in previous cases.

Some Tea residents, such as Ashley Mortimer, said they're angry and upset that this is happening in their town.

"We're in such a small town, we're supposed to rely on these people to take care of us and be there for us and trust them," said Mortimer.

Mortimer, has lived in Tea for the last four years and said she was surprised, shocked and mad when she found out about the two police officials resigning

"Thinking they can get away with things that normal people everyday are going to jail for," said Mortimer.

Wollman said his office found a civil complaint filed against Ketterhagen that said he covered up information as a former captain of the Sublette County Sheriff's office in Wyoming, which wrongfully convicted a man for a murder that took place in 1984.

"As a prosecutor I believe I have an ethical obligation to make sure there isn't any exculpatory information or evidence that was covered up or exists in a criminal prosecution," said Wollman.

As far as former officer, Klimple, the reasons for his resignation are unknown at this time.

For Mortimer, she said this scandal gives Tea, the community she loves, a bad name.

"Who wants to come to Tea when our law enforcement is screwed up, who wants to live here, who wants to bring their kids here," said Mortimer.

She said she hopes the Tea Police Department, works hard to correct their system and prevent incidents such as this from happening again.

"They get their stuff together and they look deeper into before they just up and hire somebody," said Mortimer.

The Lincoln County State’s Attorney said the investigation should not take long because Ketterhagen did not work on a lot of criminal cases during his time as police chief.

Ketterhagen has denied all allegations of withholding evidence in the Wyoming murder case.
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