Perez Receives A Year And One Day In Prison For Rigging Police Chief Test–Judge Dooley: You End Your Career In Law Enforcement As A Convicted Felon

Calling him “no different than any other criminal” who obstructed an investigation, U.S. District Court Judge Kari Dooley on Monday sentenced former Police Chief Armando Perez to 12 months and one day in prison for connivance of the top cop test in 2018.

The sentence means that Perez is eligible to receive 15 percent good time. Offenders sentenced to a year or less are not eligible for good time.

Perez will self-surrender to a place of incarceration on May 24, requesting his time be served in the satellite camp in Otisville New York, the lowest security level in the federal system. The final designation determination is set by the U.S. Federal Marshal’s Office. With good time, Perez will spend upwards of nine months in prison, but eligible to complete his time sooner in a halfway house and home confinement.

Following completion of the sentence, Perez will spend two years on supervised release, a form of probation.

In October Perez pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and making false statements to agents in conjunction with the police examination.

Judge Dooley departed substantially from the federal sentencing guidelines of 18-24 months, citing in part the voluminous letters of support she received from community members and his acceptance of responsibility.

Chief AJ Perez leaving court house last October. Courtesy Steve Krauchick, Doing It Local.

Former Personnel Director David Dunn, 73, also pleaded guilty to similar charges. His sentencing date is scheduled for Tuesday.

Unless anything out there is lurking, it looks like the charges in this case will be limited to Perez and Dunn.

Judge Dooley told Perez “you have suffered extraordinary consequences” citing public humiliation and heavy financial loss that has included $300,000 in restitution and hefty attorney fees. But she also added, “You end your career in law enforcement as a convicted felon.”

Prior to sentencing, a contrite Perez told the judge, “I am so sorry … I did this to myself and I panicked.”

Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Francis urged the judge to mete out a guideline sentence. “When given the opportunity to do the right thing … he lied to the FBI for more than a year.”

The FBI already had the goods on Perez, that he had conspired to rig the test utilizing help from underlings and Dunn to receive an unfair advantage over other police chief candidates, when he agreed to interviews in connection with the investigation. In such a situation federal investigators generally already know the answers to questions they ask to gauge veracity. Perez lied on many occasions. He also lied to his lawyer and he also lied to the public.

Mark Straubel, left, former Bridgeport Police Captain with Chief Perez. CT Post photo.

How the case split wide open.

Just days after Captain Mark Straubel was placed on administrative leave in the summer of 2018 for racist texts against the department’s highest-ranking African American officer Captain Roderick Porter, Chief AJ Perez visited him at his house to seek additional assistance with the exam to select a permanent chief, an appeal recorded by Straubel who clearly seemed to be of the mind, if I’m going down for this, you’re going down for that.

Captain Roderick Porter. Photo: Bailey Wright / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Straubel had something planned the chief wasn’t expecting, compiling evidence and recordings to be used against his boss. He’s become a key witness in the federal government’s exam-rigging case against Perez.

On July 30, 2018, after directing Straubel, his chief aide, not to return to police headquarters following the public blow up over the racist texts, Perez went to Straubel’s home.

The government’s 25-page criminal complaint brings into focus the timeline behind Perez’s efforts to seize materials no other candidate for chief had received including Porter who ranked third on the finalist list and thus was eligible to be chosen permanent chief by Mayor Joe Ganim, according to City Charter regulations. Ganim selected Perez, his long-time friend, whom he had elevated to acting chief in early 2016 following his return to the mayoralty.

It also shows a clear indication by Straubel to document a series of events against his boss he’d share with federal investigators. Ultimately the racist text messages would cause Straubel a lot of grief that led to his retirement from the department. Porter would file a human rights complaint against the city for how it handled the texts.

Several police sources familiar with Straubel and Perez agree that Straubel has the brain power to coach Perez on the exam. Perez, they say is a nice guy but not a test taker at that level. Lieutenant Brian Dickerson, who once commanded the Office of Internal Affairs, was also recruited to coach Perez during the application process.

Perez and former Personnel Director David Dunn were charged with rigging the police exam for Perez and providing false statement to federal investigators.

The government’s complaint references Straubel as Officer 1, and Dickerson as Officer 2. OIB has confirmed through multiple sources of their assistance on behalf of Perez.

Excerpt from the timeline condensed from government’s complaint:
February 26, 2018, the mayor sent Dunn a letter instructing him in his role as the Personnel Director to initiate an open and competitive examination for the position of police chief and to then certify to the mayor, within 150 days of the request, the three highest scoring candidates from that examination.

In March, Dunn hires search consultant Randi Frank to prepare and administer the examination for chief. She reported exclusively to Dunn.

The process included a review of candidates’ résumés and cover letters, written exam made up of a questionnaire and two essay questions, telephonic oral exam conducted by Frank and a panel interview conducted by five independent panelists.

In May 2018, at the direction of Dunn, Frank commenced the search for a chief. Frank was told by Dunn there should be no requirement that a candidate possess a bachelor’s degree, or any penalty for candidates who did not have one, something Frank found unusual. Perez was the only candidate without a bachelor’s degree.

May 12, 2018, Frank sends Dunn an email with the subject “Revised Advertisement & Testing Questionnaire & Recommendations for Process.” Attached was a “status report of work completed to date and recommendations on how to move forward with interview process as requested.” Also attached to the email was a draft of certain confidential examination materials pertaining to the Written Exam portion of the Examination Process, including a questionnaire, essay questions, and scoring guide for the Written Exam. Frank’s email specifically requested that Dunn “please keep very confidential.”

May 21, 2018, Frank sends Dunn an email with the subject “Bridgeport Police Chief Search.” Attached were the finalized questionnaire and essay questions that Frank intended for use in the Written Exam stage of the police chief Examination Process, along with the associated scoring guide, which set forth the points awarded for various types of answers on the candidates’ questionnaires. Frank noted in the body of the email that the attachments were “confidential.”

Dunn then agreed to provide secretly that confidential material to Perez to ensure that he performed favorably on the examination and thus would remain eligible to be in the top three. In particular, according Straubel who worked for and closely with Perez, the acting chief provided Straubel with a scoring guide for the questionnaire.

No other applicant received the scoring guide.

May 31, 2018, Frank sends Dunn an email with the subject “Status.” The email noted that Frank had received résumés from six applicants. Later that day, Dunn forwarded Frank’s email to Perez asking in his email, “R u ready to mail in your resume?”

Perez directs Straubel and Dickerson to help draft his résumé and cover letter for the position. The work was performed during police work hours and using police computers.

June 5, 2018, Perez sends an email invitation to a meeting the next day in his office. Officers confirm the purpose of that meeting was to work on Perez’s résumé and cover letter.

June 6, 2018, shortly before the scheduled meeting with Perez, Straubel sends Dickerson an email with the text “Cover letter” and attaching a document titled “Document1.” The document titled “Document1” is a draft cover letter for Perez that appears to be substantially similar to the one Perez eventually submitted to Frank.

June 8, 2018, Dickerson sends Perez an email with the subject “Document Review.” Attached to this email was a draft résumé and cover letter for Perez that Straubel and Dickerson subsequently informed the FBI they had helped prepare. Straubel took a screenshot of this email, as well as a screenshot of his response containing suggested changes, which he provided the FBI.

June 9, 2018, Frank emailed Perez. “Just wanted to make sure you have a copy of the profile for the Police Chief Search–the deadline i[s] June 15 for résumés and cover letter to me and my partner as indicated on the attached.” Approximately 15 minutes later, Perez responded by email, “Thanks, I have completed all the required material and will submit it on Monday.”

June 11, 2018, Perez sends officers email invite for a meeting that day at 11:30 a.m, for the purpose to complete his résumé and cover letter. Less than an hour after meeting Perez emailed his résumé and cover letter to Frank copying Dunn to apply for the police chief position. Other than address modifications, the cover letter and résumé that Dickerson had sent Perez on June 8, 2018 was substantively identical to the one that Perez emailed to Frank.

June 18, Frank emailed Perez and the other ten remaining candidates informing them that she had reviewed their resumes and believed they met the minimum qualifications for the position. As a result, because the police chief position was “under the Bridgeport Civil Service System,” a “written test is required.” Frank explained that the written exam portion of the process consisted of a three-page questionnaire and two essay questions. Frank’s email directed that each candidate had to personally complete the written exam. “The attached Written Exam/Questionnaire will be graded so please complete yourself and please provide accurate/truthful information.”

Dunn asks Frank to implement changes to the scoring system for grading the questionnaires, all of which benefited Perez such as modifying the scoring system to: award more points for duration of law enforcement experience; eliminate any penalty for not residing in Bridgeport; and eliminate any penalty for the lack of a bachelor’s degree.

June 21, 2018, Perez meets with Straubel and Dickerson for help to prepare his responses to the written exam and essay responses. Officers substantially completed both essays including researching, drafting, and editing Perez’s responses, some of which was done while at work.

June 25, 2018, Perez emailed his completed written exam to Frank and copied Dunn among others. Frank wrote back to Perez, “It is not appropriate for David (Dunn) to have a copy–no other candidate is doing that–all the questionnaires will be graded by me and David will see all of them at the same time.” Approximately 25 minutes later Perez forwarded Frank’s email to Dunn writing, “David, you are the Civil Service Director no one ever told me that you are entitled to see my essay, I am confuse.” After Frank spoke with Dunn, Frank wrote to Perez, “David said he has not reviewed so everything is ok.”

Frank scored the Questionnaire and Essays. The changes to the scoring guide Frank made at the direction of Dunn increased Perez’s score.

July 17, 2018, Frank emails Perez. “You did pass the written exam so you will now move on to the oral exam–a telephone interview with me … . [T]he oral exam will be part of the process to determine who are the finalist candidates.”

Frank sends Dunn an email with the subject “Status Report for Police Chief Search.” That email had two attachments. The first attachment was titled “Police Chief Search Status Report july 2018.” The second attachment was titled “Draft oral exam for top 8 Police Chief Candidates,” which contained “the oral interview questions that I plan to use.”

July 18, 2018, Dunn forwarded that email (including attachments) to Perez writing, “Call me please.”

July 20, 2018, Perez directs Straubel to access his city email account and print the attachments to the July 18, 2018 email from Dunn.

Straubel took photographs of the attachments to Dunn. He subsequently provided them to the FBI.

Perez instructs Straubel to use the questions that Dunn had provided Perez to draft answers
that Perez could use in his Oral Exam with Frank.

Straubel was placed on administrative leave upon discovery of the racists texts involving Porter before he could complete draft answers to the oral exam questions for Perez.

Straubel’s Racist Texts
On July 26, Perez was notified by Internal Affairs that a citizen’s complaint had been filed by a retired police officer against Straubel.

In the text thread Straubel writes in an exchange with a friend:

“I asked porter if he had seen planet of the apes

He said … yes

I asked him if it made him homesick.”

The remarks were about Porter, the highest ranking African American in the department.

In the exchange attributed to Straubel he adds “He’s not even marching in the nigger parade but I have to,” a reference to Bridgeport’s Juneteenth Parade, a date that symbolizes the end of slavery for African Americans.

The government’s complaint includes this footnote:

Government footnote: Officer-1 is a former BPD officer who has been interviewed by the FBI multiple times and provided information to the FBI with no promise of any benefit. Officer-1’s information has been corroborated by other witnesses, emails, photographs, and recordings. Officer-1 was put on administrative leave by ARMANDO J. PEREZ, the defendant, in July 2018, and eventually retired from the BPD, following a report to BPD Internal Affairs that Officer-1 had used racist language in certain electronic messages to another BPD employee.

July 30, 2018, after directing Straubel not to return to the office, Perez visited him at his home. Straubel recorded the conversation on his cellphone.

“Where did you leave the stuff you were working on for me?”

Straubel responded that it was in a file stored on his police department computer. He offered to sneak into headquarters in order to pick up the materials.

Perez: “sneak in there for me please.”

August 1, 2018, Straubel spoke by phone with Perez which Straubel recorded at the direction of the FBI. Straubel asserted he had tried to go to police headquarters the prior night, but that it was “just a little much,” and he asked Perez if he wanted him to try to get in again.

Perez: “If you can do it please. Cause I’m running out of time. And you’re the only one who can help me.”

Perez told Straubel the best way to sneak in, including which doors and stairs to use, and the best time to go in to increase the chance that nobody would be around. When Straubel suggested that the two of them could go over the materials together in the future, Perez responded, “Yeah,” and that he needed to “start studying.”

August 2, 2018, Straubel spoke again by phone with Perez in a recorded conversation.

Perez: “And if you can bring me that stuff. I’m lost here man.”

Straubel responded that he thought he “remember[ed] some of the test
questions,” and would try to get them together.

In a call later that day Straubel told Perez he was “trying to struggle through the questions,” but was not yet done. Perez responded that Straubel should not “worry about” that, and focus instead on his own employment situation.

August 9, 2018, Frank conducted oral exam with Perez by telephone. Frank concluded that the applicants scored fairly evenly on the oral exam.

September 4, 2018, Frank invited Perez and other six remaining candidates to participate in the final stage of the Examination Process, a panel interview with five independent panelists, including Frank. The Panel Interview was eventually scheduled for October 19, 2018.

September 10, 2018, the Connecticut Post published an article critical of the secrecy surrounding the police chief hiring process. Perez was quoted “I’m a candidate,” and stating “That’’s all I know … . I’ve stayed away from (seeking details about the search process) just to make sure it was objective … . I don’t want anybody to say ‘A.J. influenced.'”

In response to this article, Dunn circulated an email to the Mayor’s office with bullet
points for a proposed statement outlining how the selection process had worked and detailing how it complied with the City’s Charter. Dunn specifically suggested that the City’s response should emphasize the “Confidentiality of the test questions/candidates/examiners,”

Dunn’s input was incorporated, in part, in an October 30, 2018 “op-ed” by the Mayor defending the integrity of the City’s police chief selection process.

October 9, 2018, approximately 10 days before the panel interview Dunn sent Perez an email
with the subject “Attachment” and attaching a document titled “Bridgeport Police Chief Questions,” which contained 42 suggested questions for the panelists to ask, 15 of
which were highlighted.

October 11, 2018, Dunn forwarded Frank’s email with the “Bridgeport Police Chief Questions,” from his City email account to his own personal email account.

October 15, 2018, approximately four days before the panel Interview, Dunn texted Perez
“Call me regarding sgt exam.”

In advance of the October 19, 2018 Panel Interview Frank provided the five panelists with her notes from each candidate’s previous Oral Exam. She also provided the panelists with each candidates cover letter, résumé, and essays, which in the case of Perez had been prepared by Straubel and Dickerson at Perez’s direction.

October 17, 2018 according to a panelist who was one of the five interviewers selected by Frank and Dunn, Dunn called panelist at home. During that call, Dunn stated that the mayor wanted Perez to be “in the top three.”

Panelist characterizes the statement to be “totally inappropriate” given his position and the importance of the independent examination process.

Editor’s note: Dunn denies claim he made the remark to the panelist about the mayor.

October 19, 2018, Frank provided the rankings to Dunn who certified the three highest-ranked candidates, including Perez to the mayor.

October 19, 2018, after learning that he had placed in the top three–and therefore was eligible to be selected by the mayor for the police chief position Perez spoke to Straubel by phone, a call recorded at the direction of the FBI. During that call, Perez says he had placed second in the police chief test.

“I owe this to you.”

November 5, 2018, Ganim announces he had selected Perez as permanent chief.

Perez received a five-year contract at an annual salary of $145,428. In addition, Perez cashed out more than $300,000 of accrued leave time.

According to a Connecticut Post article, after his swearing in ceremony, Perez publicly “insisted he was given no shortcuts by City Hall: ‘I did this on my own.'”

Not anymore.



  1. U.S. District Court Judge Kari Dooley you need to be ashamed of yourself for this sorry excuse of a prison term that you meted out to Chief Pérez for his blatant cheating. You threw that extra day onto his sentence so that he could further reduce his prison time by 15%. Shame on you and is there any wonder why this sort of shit continually happens in Bridgeport when they know that they’ll only get a half ass prison sentence from a half ass judge. You further justify this half ass sentence by commenting on the letters of support that he included as if anyone who committed a crime wouldn’t find it very easy to get letters of support! Shame on you and I guess the people of Bridgeport should expect the same old half ass sentence for disgraced former Acting Civil Service Director David Dunn that you gave the Chief of Cheating!

        1. Right. So when asked if he’d ever been convicted if a crime whats the answer?
          “No, I PLED GUILTY”. ?? !!
          So he’s still guilty.

    1. Smells fishy to me…… Only sorry cuz he got caught……..
      Well, If Ganim gets arrested in the next few weeks, then we will understand why he got such a short sentence.
      We’ll see………

  2. What a disgrace, U.S. District Court Judge Kari Dooley has shown the residents of Bridgeport that a crime by the highest law enforcement officier is treated much differently than any other criminal, hell, the judge might as well put Perez on probation because Perez will be sending Perez to club Med the same type of place that Joe Ganim was at. The break down of a society is when those who are to protect society are lawless, how can the residents have any respect for those incharge are nothing but a criminal and is given a pat on the back. Judge Kari Dooley had a chance to let everybody know that no matter what your position you have in society that if you violate the public trust that you will pay a harder penalty. There are no reasons for those in Bridgeport not to cheat on any exam, what harm could happen to those who cheat, thanks Judge Kari Dooley.

  3. With apologies to the Kingston Trio……………………………….

    Hang down your head Kari Dooley
    Hang down your head and cry
    Hang down your head Kari Dooley
    You cause American justice to die……………………….

    This time tomorrow
    Reckon where Perez’ll be
    In some Club Fed Prison
    Laughing at you with glee

  4. Did anyone really expect a a proper sentence for Perez??…He & Dunn were simply the puppets for Joe.Joe needed a chief who wouldn’t ask questions and someone who did what they were told to do in order to run his “operation” here in Bpt,Armando checked those boxes for Joe.I’m hoping now that this piece of the investigation is coming to a close,the Feds take the next step and finally indict Joe for his role in this,imo,you can’t convict the puppets and let the puppeteer walk away unscathed…

    1. Notice the Expire Terms of he entire Bridgeport Police Commission that’s on the City’s website. We all know that Mayor Ganim is busy doing other city business, right.

      Anna Cruz (R)
      68 Perth Street
      Bridgeport, CT 06606
      Term Expires: 12/31/2009

      Matthew Cuminotto Jr. (D)
      320 Vincellette Street,
      Bridgeport, CT 06606
      Term Expires: 12/31/2019

      Hector Diaz (D)
      34 Arthur Street
      Bridgeport, CT 06605
      Term Expires: 12/31/2018

      Edwin P. Farrow (D)
      357 Pearl Street
      Bridgeport, CT 06605
      Term Expires: 12/31/2019

      Thomas A. Lyons (D)
      91 Jewett Avenue
      Bridgeport, CT 06606
      Term Expires: 12/31/2019

      Daniel S. Roach (D)
      19 Quinlan Avenue
      Bridgeport, CT 06605
      Term Expires: 12/31/2019

      Valerie Quarles (U)
      58 Herald Avenue
      Bridgeport, CT 06606
      Term Expires: 12/31/2018

  5. *** White collar crime receives a white collar sentence, no? Restitution fine of $150,000. 1-yr. sentence minus 15% good-time, is about 310 days @ a low level fed. joint with possible earlier release due to the pandemic, etc. Maybe not even 310 days @ the fed. place, but off to a halfway house shortly for the record, then home supervised parole. Have no idea if they want to go after part of his police pension or not. If they don’t he’ll luck out “big-time! Regardless, a black eye for Bpt. the P/D dept. the perez & dunn families & the entire civil service promotional testing system. Everytime the city of Bpt. gets to take a positive step “forward”, along comes the “dark-shadow” & brings the city “back” 2-steps! ***

    1. “Everytime the city of Bpt gets to take a postitive step “forward”,along comes the “dark shadow” &brings the city “back “ 2 -steps!”

      Very true statement and Joe always seems to be the common denominator why.

  6. I don’t know what to say. I am truly heart broken for Bridgeport. The bad guys won again.
    And unfortunately it is about the structure. The corruption will eat you up. And there is no one to blame except for yourself.
    You can not succeed if you don’t stand up.

  7. I blame the judge but not all that much.
    She sits there and says this is wrong but what did the people of Bridgeport expect?
    They had a chance to turn the page on corruption when the FBI and federal court system sent the mayor away the last time and what did the citizens of Bridgeport do? Sent him right back to City Hall the first chance they get.

  8. And to David Dunn I ask “What prompted the panelist to say what Mayor Ganim wanted if it was just all a lie?”
    Are things that much out of control in City Hall that you can just say what you want to get an unqualified person appointed Police Chief without any consequence? Surely you don’t believe that do you?
    Or is this just another lie to please the mayor?
    David, I know you thought that was your job but everyone believes it is far more believable that you told the panelist this simply because it is the truth.

  9. Bob, right is right, this goes back to 2014 from Only In Bridgeport.

    “Former Mayor Tom Bucci’s Kiddie Korps Gang Rides Again”
    January 2, 2014 LennieGrimaldi Analysis and Comment, City Budget, News

    It’s hard to believe nearly 25 years after Tom Bucci served his last day as mayor, a dozen friends and members from his mayoral staff gather each December between Christmas and the New Year to reminisce, needle, pontificate, argue, compare crow’s feet, laugh lines, hairlines and waistlines. This is a crew with a sense of humor; you need one to survive in city politics. They’re much older now but still the Kiddie Korps.

    The Kiddie Korps has its roots under sweet-and-sour John Mandanici, mayor from 1975-81, who hired a number of young guns to key administration positions, all in their late 20s. John Norko as comptroller, David Dunn as director of Labor Relations, Robert Buccino as chief aide and Tom Bucci in the City Attorney’s Office. When Bucci became mayor in 1985 he did the same, a bunch of us in our late 20s. I was communications director and adviser.

    Bucci is the cousin of Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa whose restaurant on Madison Avenue serves as the annual venue. The other day, it did not take long for the ribbing to commence.

    Larry Merly, the city attorney during the Bucci years, took on the insurance companies after the L’Ambiance collapse.

    “Hey Dunn,” one at the table cracked, “what’s it like getting the crap kicked out of you on Only In Bridgeport?”

    Dunn currently serves as the city’s personnel director in charge of Civil Service. Employment and labor relations have been his life.

    “Who’s been picking on me?” Dunn draws back in mock horror.

    “Mackey and Day.”

    Ron Mackey and Donald Day, members of the Firebirds that represent black firefighters, have knocked heads with Dunn over a variety of personnel issues for about 30 years. Both served as city firefighters.

    “So what else is new,” Dunn responds.


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