Former Overland Park officer who was under investigation hired by Gladstone police

A former Overland Park police officer who was under investigation over allegations of misusing funds and resigned in December has been hired in Missouri.

Rachel Scattergood was sworn in last week as an officer with the Gladstone Police Department, according to a video on the agency’s Facebook page.

“Pretty excited to get her on board,” Chief Fred Farris says in the video.

“She comes to us with a great deal of experience,” he says.

A spokesman for the Gladstone Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Scattergood started with the Overland Park Police Department in June 2012, according to records from the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training, the state agency responsible for licensing officers.

In May 2022, she and four other officers were placed on paid administrative leave amid allegations they received questionable monetary benefits while board members of the Overland Park Police Officers Foundation.

The allegations came to light when new foundation leaders ordered an audit, which found unauthorized payments to Scattergood, Sgt. Brandon Faber, Officer Brad Heater and Sgt. Tim Tinnin.

The audit found the board members had benefited from educational scholarships in violation of the charity’s bylaws. Money went directly into two of the members’ pockets instead of the academic institutions, a move auditors found suspicious.

Board members received other payments, earmarked for assisting families in financial distress following “catastrophic injury or death,” and used them for dental and veterinarian bills, the audit found.

The officers received $27,000 for their own benefit, according to the audit.

Findings were submitted to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office in spring 2022.

Despite clear evidence the officers violated charity bylaws concerning “self-dealing and self-enrichment,” Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said in October 2023 that his office could not prove the officers knowingly collected money for unauthorized expenses or misused funds on purpose.

He largely attributed that conclusion to a lack of record-keeping by charity leadership and its vague governing document. The officers also wiped their electronic devices clean of any data, the DA’s office said. While charges weren’t filed, Howe added, “We didn’t say there wasn’t shadowy behavior, because there was.”

The four officers resigned in December while the city was investigating them for potential policy violations. Since they were no longer employees, “Their resignation was functionally the end of the internal personnel investigation,” Meg Ralph, a spokeswoman for the City of Overland Park, said Monday.

When an officer leaves a department, paperwork is submitted to the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and Training. Employers select whether the officer voluntary resigned, resigned under questionable circumstances or was involuntarily terminated. Ralph said they marked that Scattergood resigned under questionable circumstances.

Missouri mandates agencies request a copy of past personnel files of officers applying for jobs.