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Salem Police Officer Faces Charges For 2012 High-Speed Chase

A Salem police officer has been charged with reckless conduct and disobeying a police officer for allegedly leading other officers from his own police department on a high speed chase in 2012.

Sergeant Michael Verrocchi has been on paid administrative leave since February of 2019, when the Attorney General’s office told the Salem Police Department it was investigating the incident.

The AG’s investigation was prompted by a 2018 audit of the Salem Police Department which highlighted problems with how the department handled internal affairs, among other issues.

That audit ultimately led to the resignation of the former chief of police, Paul Donovan, and the placing of other current officers on administrative leave.

Current chief Brian Pattullo says the 2012 incident was dealt with internally at the time, though he declined to share if Verrocchi received any form of reprimand, citing confidentiality of personnel matters.

Pattullo said the charges announced Wednesday against Verrocchi are an important step for the department.

“We're making strides to make sure that everything is above board, is open to the public, and that we're performing at the highest level that we possibly can,” said Pattullo.

Pattullo said Verrocchi will remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the charges against him.

The AG’s office is also conducting three other investigations into the Salem Police Department which also stem from the 2018 audit.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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