It's common for law enforcement officers to testify in court on criminal cases. In order for there to be complete transparency, agencies must disclose information about officers that might cause a concern over their credibility. It's called a Brady/ Giglio distinction.
Wednesday, FactFinder 12 learned the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office has eight employees with that status. We filed a request with the Wichita Police Department to see how many employees they have with the status. We're told we should have those answers Thursday.
Of the eight Sheriff's Office employees, Lt. Dave Mattingly says a detective and seven deputies have Brady/Giglio status, meaning they have issues in their past that could cause a credibility problem when testifying in court.
"Brady/Giglio is simply stating that it must be disclosed to the defense that somebody may have something in their file or in their history that could allow them to be impeached if on the stand as a witness," said Mattingly.
He says that does not mean those employees cannot testify. Mattingly will not release the employees' names or violations.
"That is a personnel record and we're not required to disclose that," he said. "It treads on the person's privacy."
Mattingly says the reasons vary from convictions to policy violations. He says the Sheriff's Office tries to prevent the deputies from having to testify in court.
"Obviously we want to try to place somebody in a position where they may not have to become a witness and that has been done," said Mattingly.
A former Wichita Police Department policy regarding Brady/Giglio did the same. The policy would not allow officers to work part-time jobs outside of duty, just in case a crime occurred and the officer needed to testify. Brady/Giglio also applies to officers with past convictions or official findings of dishonesty.
The policy is now in the process of being changed, after the Fraternal Order of Police filed a grievance with the City of Wichita. In the meantime, officers are being allowed to work part-time jobs.
The FOP claimed Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams signed off on the policy without consulting with the union. However, Wichita City Attorney Sharon Dickgrafe says the city did discuss it with the union.
In May, the city paid the FOP a $28,000 settlement and agreed to seek clarification from the District Attorney's Office on any prior instances of misconduct by an officer in a criminal case. DA Marc Bennett issued a written ruling stating his office will not accept law enforcement affidavits from witnesses with Brady/Giglio issues. He also says his office always notifies defense attorneys of credibility issues with any law enforcement or civilian witnesses.
Bennett says although he officially put the ruling in writing Wednesday, his office has always practiced under these guidelines.
FactFinder 12 asked Wichita City spokesman Van Williams if Police Chief Norman Williams' sudden retirement had anything to do with Brady/Giglio. He says Williams retired for the reasons he gave to the media last week, because he has been on the force 39 years and is "tired."
FactFinder 12 then asked City Manager Bob Layton the same question. Layton replied by saying he cannot comment on personnel matters, including issues related to Brady/Giglio.