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BOCA RATON — Two police officers were suspended after an investigation found they were involved in a scheme to fix traffic tickets.
Boca Raton Police Officer Heather Leinonen asked officer Kenneth Fong not to show up in court for at least two tickets he issued to a friend of Leinonen’s, disciplinary records show. As a result the tickets were dismissed.
The Boca Raton Police Department suspended Leinonen and Fong for two weeks without pay for conduct unbecoming of an officer and fixing traffic tickets.
The department launched an internal affairs investigation after a tipster said Leinonen was socializing with a criminal. The investigation found that to be untrue, but it determined that Leinonen had intervened on behalf of her friend, Raymond Gibson.
Investigators did not interview Gibson, records show. But Leinonen told internal affairs investigators that Gibson did not ask her to take care of the tickets and that she took it upon herself to try to get them dismissed.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Gibson hung up almost immediately. An attorney for Gibson could not be located.
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Gibson was originally cited by Fong in November 2019 for driving 70 mph in a 35 mph zone and having illegal window tints, court records show. The fine for each would have been $356 and $116, respectively. He pleaded not guilty to both and after Fong didn’t show up to court, both tickets were dismissed.
Gibson won’t be cited again, a department spokeswoman said.
Gibson texted Leinonen after having gone to court to let her know Fong didn’t show up and the tickets were dismissed as a result.
In interviews with investigators, Fong said he had seen other officers do this at a department he previously worked at. “Asked if she knew she was doing something wrong, Officer Leinonen stated at the time no. Now she realizes that it is wrong,” Sgt. Xerxes Callahan wrote in his internal affairs summary.
Fong has been employed by the Boca Police Department since 2015 and makes $43.34 per hour. Leinonen has worked at the department since 2011 and makes $49.47 per hour.