FERGUSON, Mo. (KTVI) – Police want to know if Missouri residents have been stopped, frisked, or arrested by a man who looks like a police officer. We`ve found the man in question is not licensed as a police officer.
A Fox Files investigation took us to a North St. Louis County Municipality with empty lots and burned out buildings. Kinloch is a town of less than 500 people that sits in the shadow of Lambert St. Louis International Airport.
The City of Kinloch says he doesn`t need a license. The city calls Manuel a ‘deputy marshal’ and says he ‘performs K9 services for the police department.’
In another North County Town, Velda City Police Chief Daniel Paulino says he`s concerned the man may be impersonating an officer. Paulino said, ‘People get the impression that`s a police car, a police officer driving a police car, especially because it has a spotlight on it as well.’
A Velda City Police Officer reports seeing and talking Manuel, while working the front lines of Ferguson. The officer said Manuel appeared to be wearing a full police uniform. Chief Paulino said, ‘My officer asked him, hey what department are you with, because he didn`t see any patches and (Manuel said), I`m with the Florissant Police Department.’
Florissant has no record of Manuel.
Paulino wonders if Manuel acted while in Ferguson. He asked, ‘Did he do something there? Did he make an arrest? Did he deploy his dog during those riots? We don`t know so all that`s still under investigation. All that information has been relayed to the proper authorities.’
Paulino found Manuel did certify a K9 in 2011, but only after telling trainers he was an officer. Paulino explained, ‘(Manuel) advised them he was with the city of Wellston, a police officer with the city of Wellston.’
Wellston Police report no record of Manuel as a police officer. Paulino adds that K9 certification requires continued training and yearly updates.
Ramont Manuel wouldn`t respond to numerous requests, including our visit to his Florissant home. His Facebook page says ‘Police Department K9 officer in Kinloch, Missouri.’
No one from Kinloch will answer any questions, beyond sending a letter saying Manuel is not impersonating an officer. The City Attorney writes Manuel is a ‘court marshal’ (sic) employed for ‘two years.’
Kinloch won`t address the K9, or Manuel`s vehicle with lights, sirens and spotlight. His might be the nicest car on the lot. It`s surrounded by broken down cars like one missing a window and another with a flat tire.
Last week, Bel Ridge police stopped Manuel for speeding and reported he would not answer when asked if he was a police officer. Then he reportedly handed over his Kinloch ID and another showing he`s a security officer for a University. Manuel currently faces only a speeding charge.
Chief Paulino said, ‘Our main concern is we want to see if there`s any victims out there who have been stopped, frisked, patted down or maybe even arrested… by this individual and if they have to come forward.’
Paulino worries what the perception will do to the already fragile relationship between police and the public.
Note: It`s not the first time Kinloch has faced questions about an unlicensed officer. In 2010, the Fox Files revealed the police chief at the time, Carey Wells, had no license. The State of Missouri P.O.S.T. program revoked it because of an allegation he had sex with a 15-year-old girl. Wells continued working until our Fox Files reports.