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How a police officer who was fired in Dover got a new job as a police officer in Lee

police_cars_appleswitch.jpg
appleswitch via Flickr Creative Commons
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In March 2021, a late-night car crash in Dover left two people dead and led to an investigation of a police officer who lied about his role in the crash. That officer has now lost his certification, but just a few months after Killian Krondup was fired, he was able to get a job as a police officer in Lee.

Morning Edition host Rick Ganley spoke with NHPR’s Todd Bookman and Foster’s Daily Democrat reporter Megan Fernandes about this case and the broader issues with how police misconduct is handled in New Hampshire.

Takeaways:

  • Former police officer Killian Krondup was fired from the Dover Police Department following an internal investigation that found he lied by omission about his involvement in a car chase that led to the death of two men.
  • Krondup was placed on the Laurie List and his police certification was suspended by the state. He was then hired by the Lee Police Chief who had access to his personnel file and knew about the investigation.
  • The New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council permanently revoked Krondrup’s police certification last week and he’s no longer allowed to be an officer in the state.
  • The Laurie List does not determine whether police officers can continue to work in New Hampshire. That’s up to the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, which has the authority to revoke certifications, or police chiefs who are responsible for hiring officers.

Transcript:

Rick Ganley: First, I want to know more about this case. Megan, who is Killian Kondrup and why was he fired from the Dover Police Department?

Megan Fernandes: So, Killian started with the Dover Police in 2018, and he was placed on administrative leave on March 25, 2021 after security footage showed that he lied by omission to his supervisors about initiating a chase on Sixth Street in Dover that preceded a fatal car crash. An internal investigation followed, and he was fired on April 7.

Rick Ganley: So this officer, Megan, lied about chasing the car. Apparently GPS records show that his cruiser had hit 74 miles an hour before ending the chase. Then he gets fired by Dover. What happens next, Todd?

Todd Bookman: So three things appear to have happened. After Dover completed its internal investigation and fired Kondrup, as Megan said, he was placed on the Laurie List. Remember, that's the list of police, both current and former, who have sustained misconduct that calls their credibility into question. That list was only released publicly in December for the first time. Kondrup is on the list, but he's appealing. The second thing that happened is that Kondrup's police certification was suspended or withdrawn by the state. And then third, and this is what's curious. Just a few months after he was fired by the Dover police force, Kondrup applies for and gets a job in nearby Lee, New Hampshire, working for that police force. And that's despite, you know, not having active certification at the time. For the town of Lee, he wasn't allowed to work alone. He was partnered with another officer at all times. But you know, he was wearing a badge. He was carrying a gun until just last week.

Rick Ganley: Megan, you reported the victim's families didn't even know about Kondrup's termination until recently. What did they tell you?

Megan Fernandes: Yeah, they were quite upset that they had no idea about the ongoing investigation of the officer or the termination. You know, I had conversations with both families, and they're wondering why it took nearly a year for the truth to come out. [Dover] Chief Breault explained to me that this was an internal affairs matter. But in speaking with the families, they don't see this as a separate matter. Instead, they see this as an officer who initially lied about the events leading up to their sons' deaths.

Rick Ganley: Todd, you spoke with the Lee police chief last week. How does he defend hiring Kondrup even after he was fired by a neighboring department for lying?

Todd Bookman: Well, the police chief in Lee, Thomas Dronsfield, was candid, and he is certainly not remorseful about his decision to hire Kondrup. He told me he knew exactly what was in the personnel file in Dover, the conduct that got Kondrup fired, because the Lee department had a chance to review it. He did say that he never spoke with the Dover chief about Kondrup, and if he did, perhaps would not have taken this risk on hiring Kondrup. But you know, he says, despite this officer lying about his conduct, police chief Dronsfield told me he essentially wanted to give him a second chance.

Audio clip of NHPR’s interview with Thomas Dronsfield: So everything was still going to arbitration. So, you know, in my eyes, innocent until proven guilty. And that's what I told him. I said, okay, you know, I'm going to believe what you're telling me and the process will play out. And in the end, if what you're telling me is true, you'll be a police officer. If it's not, you're not going to be a police officer, and he's not a police officer

Rick Ganley: That's the Lee police chief right there. Megan, you attended Kondrup's decertification hearing with the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council last week. These hearings are newly opened to the public following a police reform bill that was passed last session. What was it like being there?

Megan Fernandes: Yeah, it was virtual over Zoom and it was quite interesting. I didn't know exactly what to expect or what the outcome was going to be. But I listened to both officer Killian Kondrup and Dover Police Chief William Breault testify about the double fatality and really his misconduct. And the council ultimately decided to permanently revoke Kondrup's certification to work as an officer, and that effectively ended his career as an officer here in New Hampshire. You know, the biggest takeaways from that hearing. You know, when asked during the hearing if Kondrup intentionally lied to his superiors, he said, “no, I wasn't forthcoming.” And so that was where the council had to look at, okay, what is the difference between lying by omission, not telling the whole truth and not being forthcoming? Chief Breault testified that the officer failed to report the whole truth, purposely leaving details out, and that his story was obviously not consistent with the surveillance footage that they had. So Breault told the council bluntly, he screwed up. And the chief explained that if Kondrup had just called it in, the chase would not have been authorized in the first place.

Rick Ganley: Well, Todd, you've been reporting on the role of the Laurie List when it comes to how police misconduct is handled in New Hampshire. Has the list served as an effective tool in preventing cops with credibility issues from, you know, leaving one department and moving to another?

Todd Bookman: Yes and no, which isn't much of an answer, I realize. But keep in mind that is not necessarily the function of the Laurie List. You know, our reporting has found that of the 90 names released so far, more than 80 of those officers are no longer working as police in the state. Now, is that because they're on the Laurie List, or is it because of their conduct, what they did to earn that spot? You know, with Kondrup losing his certification, there are now, we believe, seven officers still working in the state of New Hampshire. But the list itself isn't ultimately, you know, what controls whether or not they can wear a badge. Ultimately, that decision is made by [New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council], the statewide accrediting body. And it's also, as we see in this case, it is often up to police chiefs to decide what kind of conduct they are willing to overlook, what type of conduct they report up the chain of command and what type of conduct they are willing to accept in hiring a police officer.

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