DOWNTOWN — City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson has notified Chicago Deputy Police Supt. Eugene Williams and two lieutenants that they are the subjects of a probe into allegations of cheating on the police lieutenants promotion exam, sources told DNAinfo.
The city watchdog's investigation advanced this week when a Police Department employee signed his name to an official misconduct complaint alleging Williams shared privileged information in a study group about the most recent test used to promote sergeants to lieutenants, sources said.
Police union contract rules state officers are not required to answer questions about administrative misconduct allegations made by anonymous Police Department employees.
The whistleblower, who had been anonymous, agreed to be identified in the complaint at the urging of investigators who told him the probe would otherwise die.
DNAinfo is not naming the officer who signed the complaint; he has asked for anonymity because he fears reprisal from the department's top brass.
Multiple sources confirmed the two lieutenants and Williams were told this week they are under investigation but declined to identify the lieutenants.
Williams, who is head of the bureau of administration, was a "subject matter expert" who helped create the exam. The chief also was the "final reviewer of potential exam content," according to a document obtained by DNAinfo.
Williams signed a confidentiality agreement promising not to share "any information, ideas, concepts, test questions, etc., with any unauthorized personnel."
The privileged information, if shared by Williams with the study group that met at police headquarters, would give sergeants in the group an unfair advantage on the test.
Williams on Thursday did not respond to a request to be interviewed about the cheating allegations.
According to a confidential police Internal Affairs report obtained by DNAinfo Chicago, the study group included a number of people, including Lt. Maryet Hall, who is married to former First Deputy Police Supt. Al Wysinger, who was the department's No. 2 cop until he retired last year; Lt. Nakia Fenner, Supt. Eddie Johnson's fianceé; and Lt. Davina Ward.
Hall recorded the top score on the lieutenants exam, according to police test rankings obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Fenner finished 17th, and Ward finished 24th, according to the results.
Fenner, Ward and Hall did not respond to calls seeking comment on Thursday.
A city source with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday that Williams and two lieutenants were each officially informed this week that they are subjects of the probe.
The whistleblower's willingness to attach his name to the allegations allowed the investigation to continue.
"They told me that unless I signed my name the investigation would die," the whistleblower told DNAinfo.
The police union contract states that an administrative misconduct investigation must be terminated and "no record of the complaint or investigation will appear in the officer's disciplinary history" if allegations are made by an anonymous department employee.
The cheating allegations have been swirling since November 2014, when the Police Department's Internal Affairs division launched a short-lived investigation. That probe did not include interviews with anyone accused of cheating in connection with the lieutenants exam and was quickly closed, sources told DNAinfo.
The whistleblower said he asked the city Inspector General's Office to investigate the matter in February after he learned the Police Department's Internal Affairs investigation had gotten no results and Williams was named one of three finalists by the Police Board to replace former Chicago Supt. Garry McCarthy.
The signed, official complaint cleared the way for inspector general investigators to question Williams before he retires next month when he turns 63, the Police Department's mandatory retirement age.
Johnson, who along with Williams and Ward is a board member of the Chicago Metropolitan Chapter of the National Organization of Black Leadership Executives, has repeatedly pledged to hold officers, including his fiancee, accountable for misconduct, and vowed to cooperate with the inspector general's investigation.
Police Department spokesman Anthony Gugliemi did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.
Since the news of the cheating allegations was first reported by DNAinfo, 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."
Officials in Emanuel's administration did not return calls seeking comment.
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