Bond was set Friday for two veteran Altus Police officers who remain in jail today following an ongoing investigation which started months ago. According to Jackson County Sheriff Roger Levick, he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation six months ago for assistance, after months of investigation on his own.
According to affidavits released from the District Attorney’s office Friday, Altus Police Officer Bill Perkins worked in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gather information for the arrests on Thursday.
The Altus Police officers involved were 17-year veteran Russell Hansel, and 11-year veteran Jose Arce.
Hansel was jailed on complaints of grand larceny and conspiracy to commit grand larceny, but other anticipated charges were added on Thursday including being in possession of three firearms with the serial numbers removed and knowingly receiving stolen property. His bond was set at $500,000.
Arce was been jailed on a complaint of conspiracy to commit a felony. His bond was set at $250,000.
According to District Attorney John Wampler, the anticipated charges will not be officially filed until Tuesday or Wednesday.
The affidavits state that Det. Bill Perkins, working with an FBI agent, implemented a plan to sell certain items, purchased with US Government funds, to Hansel and Arce, and to present the items to be sold as “stolen property.” The story offered to the defendants was that Det. Perkins received these items from his brother who was a contractor. His brother’s crew would allegedly travel out of state and steal tools and other items from construction sites. These transactions were to be recorded by Det. Perkins using personal recording equipment provided to him by the FBI agent.
According to the affidavits, the first transaction was conducted in October 2012 in the north parking lot of Western Oklahoma State College with defendant Arce. Arce was on duty, in his patrol car, working as an off duty security officer, wearing his police uniform. Det. Perkins sold a bag of marked tools to Arce for $100 cash. Perkins later turned the money over to the FBI agent. The next transaction took place in the back parking lot of the Altus Police Department were both defendants were present, and again, exchanged money for supposed stolen tools. The money was again turned over to the FBI.
In the months after, the defendants were said to have contacted Perkins several times requesting more “stolen” tools.
The third transaction listed in the affidavit was at Arce’s residence.
Last week, items retrieved from the Altus Police Department’s evidence room were used by Perkins for a transaction to take place behind the Altus Cleaners. The items included jewelry and a laptop computer.
The next day, Hansel met with Perkins in his office where Perkins showed him guns taken from the evidence room. Hansel said he already had a buyer for one of the guns, and knew where he could sell the rest of them - a location where people meet to buy and sell guns with no questions asked. Hansel took one of the guns, put it in his waistband, and the two left the police department together with the guns. Upon exiting the building, the two were taken into custody separately. Perkins was released and Hansel was arrested and taken to the APD conference room where he was interviewed by FBI agents. He was said to have admitted to knowing the tools and jewelry were stolen, but was going to go the sheriff’s office to report Perkins as having the guns and other “stolen” items. Officers later retrieved tools and jewelry from Hansel’s home.
Hansel also made statements while in holding that he sometimes traded bits of information to the gang members for information that they had that could help him.
Immediately after Hansel was arrested, a radio call was made to Arce, who was on duty and on patrol, to come to the police station. When he arrived, he was immediately arrested and placed in a holding cell. He was later interviewed by the FBI, and admitted to purchasing tools from Perkins, but denied knowing they were stolen. The tools in question were recovered from Arce’s home.
Altus Police Chief Tim Murphy said, “The actions of these two officers have placed a dark cloud over our police department. Corruption at any level will never be acceptable. Society holds police officers to a higher expectation of behavior and conduct. Although the investigation lasted many months the end result was two police officers facing felony charges.”
Chief Murphy then added, “I would like to give special recognition to Det. Bill Perkins who worked closely with the F.B.I. to bring about the successful closure of this investigation, which led to the arrest of these two officers.”