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School resource officers caught illegally selling soda to students

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Connecticut outlawed soda sales in all public schools in 2006 as a way to promote a healthier diet for students, but that didn’t stop two school resource officers from the West Haven Police Department.

Officers Kim DeMayo and Doug Bauman were caught running a side hustle selling sodas to students right from their office inside West Haven High School, according to records uncovered only by News 8.

“They should have went about it the right way instead of doing it illegally,” said student Rae’yonna Clark.

“Well, I’m kind of surprised because they’re supposed to be there to help motivate us,” said Lexus Pellot, also a student.

School leaders and top police brass learned of it as early as March 2015 when a now-retired police sergeant blew the whistle in an internal memo that raised questions about “…integrity issues of police officers selling and potentially making profit” by supplying contraband soda to students.

Related Content: Healthy options to pack in your student’s school lunch box

“We don’t really need that kind of attention for our school, make it look bad,” Pellot told us.  

Principal Pamela Gardner told News 8’s Mario Boone it’s unclear exactly how long the illegal practice lasted.

Superintendent Neil Cavallaro released a statement saying in part, “When the administration found out the officers were selling soda, their supervisors were immediately contacted, and put an end to it. We work very closely with the West Haven Police Department. I have been assured the matter was handled, and am confident nothing similar will happen in the future.” 

Police Chief John Karajanis declined to comment for this story.

Both officers did not respond to requests for comment, but Corporation Counsel Lee Tiernan did, calling the whistle-blower’s memo “hearsay” and said any soda sales by authorities were “inadvertent.”

Tiernan also noted there is “no record of formal discipline” for the officers involved.

“Well, I think if you break the trust of the parents and the school, then you should be fired,” said student Brandon Rivera.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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