Police officer ‘catfish’ used his father as a reference to get a job as an assistant – Explained!

Police officer ‘catfish’ used his father as a reference to get a job as an assistant: – Austin Lee Edwards, the cop who “captured” a 15-12 months-outdated Riverside woman and killed her grandparents and mom earlier than taking his personal life, used his personal father as one in every of three character references on his job software. as a deputy sheriff. .

Edwards signed with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in rural Virginia weeks after resigning from a 9-month stint with the Virginia State Police. He killed the household in Riverside, California, 9 days after beginning work in Washington County.

Edwards used his father, a shut buddy and his Virginia State Police subject coaching officer as references when he utilized for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, in accordance to his job software, which The Times obtained by a public information request.

Edwards’ subject coaching supervisor, whose title just isn’t within the reference, wrote that Edwards had been “very happy” in his work with the Virginia State Police.

“[Edwards] he constantly talks to me about the people he has helped throughout the day and overall loves what he does,” the coaching supervisor wrote. Edwards’ solely criticism was being too removed from his household, the supervisor added.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office stated it had consulted with the Virginia State Police earlier than hiring Edwards and that “no employer disclosed any issues, reprimands or internal investigations related to Edwards.”

In an interview, Washington County Sheriff Blake Andis declined to specify how his division investigated Edwards. Andis stated his workplace searched regulation enforcement databases for Edwards’s title, however he declined to specify which of them.

The Times beforehand reported that Edwards had a documented historical past of psychological well being issues and was detained for psychiatric analysis in 2016 after threatening to kill himself and his father and experiencing relationship issues with his girlfriend.

Andis advised The Times that Edwards didn’t disclose his 2016 psychological well being incident to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The 2016 incident and Edwards’ subsequent arrest are talked about in an Abingdon, Virginia police report that specialists say ought to have proven up in lots of normal background checks.

Records reviewed by The Times confirmed Edwards advised Virginia State Police that he had checked himself into a psychological well being facility. The company employed him anyway.

Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, beforehand stated that “human error” resulted in an incomplete database question throughout Edwards’ hiring course of” and that the company discovered “no indicators of concern” throughout its search. Background Check.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has requested the state inspector normal to examine the Virginia State Police’s hiring of Edwards.

Edwards’ quick tenure with the Virginia State Police and his historical past of psychological well being ought to have raised pink flags for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, in accordance to felony justice and regulation enforcement specialists.

Art Acevedo, the appearing police chief of the Aurora Police Department, Colo. and a nationally acknowledged regulation enforcement knowledgeable, stated Edwards’ 9-month tenure with the state police ought to have prompted extra questioning earlier than he was employed in Washington County.

“You would have to ask a lot of questions about why it is moving so fast,” he stated. “It’s quite unusual for someone to walk past an academy and suddenly turn around and walk away.”

Acevedo stated that whereas regulation enforcement businesses set their very own requirements and protocols, most departments are unlikely to rent Edwards after such a temporary employment historical past except he enrolls in his personal police academy.

“It’s almost nothing in experience and not enough significant work history in terms of a police officer to assess whether you would be hired by another agency,” he added. “You have to be in the field for two to five years without going through the academy again.”

Edwards stated in his software to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office that he had additionally utilized to the Police Department in Richlands, Virginia.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office may need assumed that the Virginia State Police had correctly investigated Edwards’ background, stated William Pelfrey, a professor of felony justice at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government.

“[But] Washington County failed to do due diligence on the background check; it seems they assumed the Virginia State Police did everything correctly,” Pelfrey stated. “It is rare for someone to spend less than a year in a law enforcement agency. Leaving VSP after nine months is a red flag, and hiring someone who spent so little time at an agency suggests there needs to be some sort of vetting.”

One day after beginning work as a deputy, Edwards served as bailiff in a homicide trial on the Washington County courthouse in Abingdon, in accordance to court docket information and images obtained by The Times. Less than a week later, he was on his means to California, the place he killed the woman’s grandparents and mom and set her dwelling on fireplace, in accordance to Riverside police.

Edwards died of a self-inflicted gunshot with his service weapon after deputies tried to intercept him in San Bernardino County, in accordance to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The woman was bodily unhurt.

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