Yukon officer, school board member fired
By Mindy Ragan Wood
Yukon Police Captain Chris Cunningham may face criminal charges and has been fired from the department, Chief John Corn confirmed Tuesday.
A warrant was issued Friday for his arrest following an investigation by the Yukon Police Department. The investigation claims Cunningham was lying about the number of hours he worked to receive more pay.
Cunningham turned himself in to the Canadian County Jail Friday at 1:30 p.m. on complaints of obtaining money by false pretenses, a misdemeanor, and a felony complaint for violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act, jail records show. He was released after posting a $2,000 bond.
Court records show that Cunningham is accused of using a department computer to log his hours on at least 17 separate occasions, the record states. The investigator’s report claims Cunningham cheated the city of Yukon out of 27 hours of pay or $1,175.31.
The investigation began when Major John Brown noticed that Cunningham began his shift at 11 p.m. on June 27, 2019. However, his time sheet showed he began at 10 p.m. That inaccuracy was corrected with Cunningham admitting he made a mistake on his timesheet.
However, about two months later, Brown requested the department’s information technology manager Carter Wallace to create a digital history of Cunningham’s timesheet beginning March 1, 2018 and extending through August 3, 2019.
The log tracked Cunningham’s change in status including when he entered and exited his work shift through the department’s Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD), the court record shows.
Brown identified 21 separate dates with discrepancies when Cunningham actually worked and the alleged fraudulent time he recorded on his digital network, which was discovered to be stored on a department computer in the YPD captain’s office.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the computer is logged on by each individual user through username and private password. Major Brown used CAD data as an initial source to cross check digital radio logs used by Cunningham when entering into his shift for each day worked.
Investigators were able to cross-check the YPD door access logs for Cunningham to determine which times the captain would access the YPD building. Brown also captured digital records of mobile calls for service for specific dates to ensure Cunningham was at work as indicated on his timesheets.
Corn said Cunningham, who has the right to appeal the city’s decision, was not fired because of the criminal complaint but due to an internal affairs investigation.
The internal affairs probe began several weeks ago and Cunningham was placed on paid administrative leave.
“The internal affairs investigation was on him as well, but for a completely different set of circumstances,” he said. “The information on the criminal investigation was running simultaneously to an administrative action of internal affairs. The IA investigation was concluded the day (Friday) that the warrant was issued for his arrest on the other (complaint).”
Cunningham sauntered into the school board meeting Monday night and took his seat as its newest board member. He was selected instead of fellow school board applicant Terry Niles on August 7 by Yukon board of education members following the resignation of Don Rowe.
Following the meeting Cunningham quickly left before he could be questioned by the Yukon Progress about his arrest and internal affairs investigation.
Yukon school Superintendent Jason Simeroth said Cunningham notified him of the warrant.
“He did tell us that the warrant had been served so we were aware of that but that’s all the information that we have,” Simeroth said. “As far as being a member of the school board is concerned, whether you are running or if you are a school board member, if you are convicted of or plead guilty or no contest to a felony charge, or a misdemeanor charge of embezzlement you are no longer allowed to serve on the school board. I think there’s a 15-year waiting period to run again.”
Simeroth said Cunningham is “welcome to serve until there’s any kind of conviction or plea.”
When the internal affairs investigation began was unclear. Simeroth said Cunningham did not notify him of any such action in the police department at the time he applied for the school board seat.
Cunningham has been a Yukon police officer for 17 years. He could not be reached for comment.
Chief Corn said he could not yet comment on the details of the internal affairs investigation.