APD Dispatcher Drug Bust

On June 4, Austin Police Dept. dispatcher Maccabee Memmen was placed on administrative leave without pay after being indicted on federal drug charges. On May 28 a federal grand jury indicted Memmen on three counts, including conspiracy and "possession with intent to distribute" nearly 200 pounds of marijuana. Memmen worked for APD for two years, said police spokesman Kevin Buchman. After federal authorities contacted APD last month concerning their ongoing probe, Buchman said, APD sent two narcotics detectives to San Antonio, where the dispatcher lived, to aid federal investigators.

Memmen worked for APD for nearly two years, but it wasn't until after he was hired that the department discovered he had a criminal record. According to Buchman the department conducted a "cursory" background check before Memmen was hired, but it wasn't until they ran his fingerprints through a national database, some time after he began working as a dispatcher, that APD discovered that Memmen was convicted in 1995 of unlawfully carrying a weapon and again in 1999 for a DWI. Still, Buchman said that after reviewing that information, the department decided to keep Memmen as an employee. "Part of our judgment was that the [1995 conviction] happened when he was 18, and he'd had a couple years of military service after that," Buchman said. "So when we looked at it and after talking to him we thought ... our decision to hire him was valid."

Memmen remained on duty after police heard about the federal investigation so that Memmen would not become suspicious. "We didn't want to jeopardize [the] investigation," Buchman said. Memmen will remain an APD employee -- at least on paper -- pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

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