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Wife Of Chicago's Former No. 2 Cop Got Top Score on Disputed Exam

By  Heather Cherone and Mark Konkol | April 21, 2016 3:49pm 

 Lt. Maryet Hall (c.) poses with Mayor Rahm Emanuel (l.) and interim Police Supt. Eddie Johnson at a Chicago Police Department promotion ceremony.
Lt. Maryet Hall (c.) poses with Mayor Rahm Emanuel (l.) and interim Police Supt. Eddie Johnson at a Chicago Police Department promotion ceremony.
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DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer

DOWNTOWN — One of three newly minted police lieutenants named in an Internal Affairs investigation into cheating on a department promotion test earned the highest score on the exam, DNAinfo Chicago has learned.

Lt. Maryet Hall — who is married to former First Deputy Police Supt. Al Wysinger, the department's No. 2 cop who retired last year — recorded the top score on the lieutenants exam, according to police test rankings obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Hall — along with Lt. Nakia Fenner and Lt. Davina Ward — was named in a tip made by an anonymous whistleblower that led to a police Internal Affairs Division investigation. That investigation was launched in November of 2014, nine months before the lieutenants exam.

The complaint questioned if Deputy Chief Eugene Williams — a "subject matter expert" who helped create the test — shared "information that was privileged" about the exam to sergeants in a study group, according to a confidential police Internal Affairs report first reported by DNAinfo Chicago.

Police have confirmed that Williams was "the final reviewer of potential exam content" for the 2015 lieutenants exam. Williams signed a confidentiality agreement promising not to share "any information, ideas, concepts, test questions, etc., with any unauthorized personnel."

Williams did not respond Wednesday to a request for an interview. The cheating probe helped derail Williams' chances of being promoted to police superintendent, sources said.

The city Inspector General, Joe Ferguson, is investigating the allegations of cheating on the lieutenants exam, sources say.

The three women named in the Internal Affairs complaint obtained by DNAinfo Chicago were among 26 sergeants promoted to lieutenant based on their test scores.

Hall has taken the test twice. Her No. 1 ranking last year was significantly better than the last time the test was offered in 2007 when she finished 303rd, according to documents. Hall did not respond to a phone message left Wednesday.

In Ward's first attempt at the test, she got the 24th best score on the 2015 exam. When Ward took the sergeants exam, in 2007, Ward ranked 96th out of 707, records show.

Ward, a former Internal Affairs sergeant, did not return a call seeking comment.

Fenner, who is engaged to Chicago's top cop, Supt. Eddie Johnson, finished 17th out of approximately 600 who completed the August 2015 lieutenants exam, the ranking list shows.

That was the first time Fenner took the lieutenants test. In 2006, she finished 25th out of about 3,600 on a sergeants exam, records show. When reached by phone Wednesday, Fenner declined comment.

Earlier this month, the superintendent said in an interview that he was aware his fiancée belonged to multiple study groups, which he said is customary when people prepare for promotional exams.

Fenner, however, told DNAinfo Chicago on April 5 that she "did not participate in any study groups." The Deering District lieutenant also denied knowledge of any investigation into cheating allegations at that time.

"I haven't seen the complaint or been questioned by anybody," Fenner said.

Each of the three newly promoted lieutenants have ties to the Chicago area chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, known as NOBLE. Williams is the organization's chapter president, and Johnson serves as its parliamentarian. Ward is the chapter's recording secretary, according to the organization's website.

Lt. Davina Ward shakes hands with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a Chicago Police Department promotion ceremony. [DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer]

Top Cop pledges 'unwavering support' of probe

Police spokesman Anthony Gugliemi declined to comment Wednesday on the exam results. He reiterated Johnson's pledge to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

"He is committed to holding the department to a higher standard," Gugliemi said.

The November 2014 police department Internal Affairs investigation did not include any interviews with anyone accused of cheating in connection with the lieutenants exam and was quickly closed, sources told DNAinfo Chicago.

In February, city inspector Ferguson launched the new investigation after fielding complaints from another whistleblower. That city probe is ongoing, sources said.

If Ferguson asks for the top cop's cooperation in the investigation into cheating, Johnson will give him "unwavering support," Gugliemi said.

Johnson has told DNAinfo if the investigation concludes there was cheating, he would "deal with it accordingly."

Since the news of the cheating allegations was first reported by DNAinfo Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has defended his choice of Johnson to lead the police department, saying the allegations were part of a "game" that involved "innuendo and besmirching people's character."

Still, the investigation into cheating allegations already has the attention of the U.S. Justice Department.

Lt. Nakia Fenner shakes hands with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a Chicago Police Department promotion ceremony as then-interim Supt. Eddie Johnson, her fiancé, looks on. [DNAinfo/Kelly Bauer]

Last week, a whistleblower met twice with federal investigators to urge them to expand their investigation of the Chicago Police Department — launched in the wake of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by a police officer — to include the alleged cheating on the department's lieutenants exam.

DNAinfo Chicago is not naming the whistleblower, a Police Department employee, who fears retaliation for filing complaints against the department's top brass.

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