Investigation into social media post results in termination of recruit officer

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(ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images)

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Lafayette Police Department terminated a recruit officer after a social media post revealed that he participated in a Neo-Nazi internet chat forum.

The department said they learned about the post after they were tagged in a tweet late Friday night. The department’s internal affairs division investigated the report to determine if it was credible.

The investigation revealed that Joseph Zacharek participated in the online forum in 2016. The department says Zacharek’s comments were not in harmony with the spirit of cooperation and inclusion in the community that the Lafayette Police Department values.

Due to the investigation, Zacharek’s employment with the department was terminated. The department said Zacharek was hired in June and was working in a training environment with no exposure to the public.

The Lafayette Police Department said it conducts thorough and complete background investigations on all potential employees, which includes a complete review of personal social media accounts. They promised to learn from the investigation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

While this information may not have been accessible through our investigative processes, we are appreciative that it was brought to our attention. We take great pride in our investigations and are extremely disappointed that we were not able to uncover this information in that process. We endeavor to learn from this investigation to ensure it never happens again.

Chief Patrick Flannelly

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