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Probe of police department won't be over soon

Muskegon Chronicle (Michigan) SECTION: A; Pg.

Muskegon Heights, MI

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS -- While authorities can't pinpoint a date, it's safe to say the ongoing investigation of the Muskegon Heights Police Department won't be wrapping up any time soon.

That's according to the lead investigator, State Police Detective Lt. Curt Schram, who said Wednesday that authorities still are whittling away at a mountain of paperwork that involves the unorganized condition of the department's evidence room and apparent missing money from the department.

"It's still ongoing and we're still securing additional documents as it relates to this investigation," Schram said.

He declined to say more about the case, but wanted to be clear that no "city government" officials are "involved in this at all."

Schram said that City Manager Natasha Henderson, Mayor Darrell Paige and Police Chief Lynne Gill "have been very cooperative."

The investigation into the police department began in April after then-acting Police Chief Ron Rake alerted authorities to the unorganized condition of the department's evidence room and indicated money appeared to be missing.

Rake -- who was brought in as interim chief after the unexpected Nov. 1 death of Chief Clifton Johnson -- has since resigned and now works as a deputy for the Muskegon County Sheriff's office.

Authorities haven't disclosed how much money they believe is missing from the evidence room which, Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said, was in "complete disarray" when the investigation began.

The amount of evidence crammed in the department's property room -- including money, weapons and drugs -- was "overwhelming," built up from literally "hundreds of cases," Tague has said.


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