Department Response to Arrest of Officer
Jason Ponczek, an officer of the Somerset Borough Police Department was placed under arrest Friday evening, February 24th, for bribery related charges by the Pennsylvania State Police. The Somerset Borough Police Department greets this news with both shock and sadness. It is the policy of this department to never publicly comment on any investigative aspect of another agency's case and that policy will be maintained in this instance as well. However, it is inescapable that this very serious prosecution against a sworn member of the department will cause great and understandable concern on the part of the public we strive to protect and serve.
The department and the Borough of Somerset set high expectations for our officers and are committed to an honest appraisal of an officer's performance as compared to those standards and expectations. The department has committed to a review of its policies, practices and current and past cases in order to be able to confirm our belief that the current matter is an aberration and is not reflective of the commitment and dedication of the department as a whole. We further commit to appropriately report the findings and conclusions of our appraisal and to remedy any deficiency detected.
Finally, we wish to commend and acknowledge the professionalism demonstrated by members of the Pennsylvania State Police and the Somerset County District Attorney. While adhering to the highest standards of investigative practices, they have been gracious and compassionate in their dealings with the Somerset Borough Police Department and its members.
Earlier this year a Somerset Borough Police officer was arrested for Bribery and Official Oppression resulting from his handling of a case in which he solicited a bribe from a potential defendant. The officer was subsequently charged and prosecuted by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Somerset County District Attorney and he resigned his position.
At the time of the incident, the Chief of Police pledged an internal review of the case as well as the department's policies, practices and cases in order to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. The Chief further committed to sharing the results and conclusions of the review with the public. With the recent adjudication of the criminal case against the officer in the Somerset County Court of Common Pleas, the time has come to share the review with the community.