Jenks Police Officer Accused Of Using Fake Degree To Get Pay Raise
JENKS, Oklahoma - A Jenks Police Patrol Commander is on paid leave accused of buying a bogus Master’s degree online and using it to get a pay raise.
Jenks Police said James Bennett who at one point in his career had been the city’s acting Chief and has been receiving about $6000 worth of incentive pay that he didn’t deserve.
Jenks Police said they were conducting an audit of all the department's officers when they found documents from Patrol Commander James Bennett that didn't look right.
"They looked like they were not legitimate from the very beginning. They just were not presented when he was the acting Chief" said Chief Cameron Arthur of the Jenks Police Department.
As CLEET investigators opened a criminal investigation, Jenks Police began an administrative investigation. Investigators found that the university Bennett says he got his master’s degree from, the University of Denton is a "diploma mill". They say that Bennett paid for an online degree and transcripts.
"When they had checked into it, it responded back to a truck plaza somewhere in Texas so we had some indicators that the University didn't exist," said Chief Cameron Arthur of the Jenks Police Dept.
A search through the United States Department of Education finds no accredited University of Denton and that Bennett did not attend any classes at any campus as the transcripts say.
Investigators say Bennett used the online degree and transcripts to get a pay increase for his education and to get his advanced CLEET certification which he also gave him more money.
"This is the exception far from the rule these guys do a great job day in and day out you know in my 30 years in law enforcement this is a first for more on this particular issue," said Jenks PD Chief Cameron Arthur.
News On Six went to Bennett's home to ask for his side of the story. The people there did not want to talk. News On Six also reached out to Bennett’s attorney who has not returned our calls.
"These guys do a great job day in and day out you know in my 30 years in law enforcement this is a first for me on this particular issue" said Chief Arthur.