‘I am so, so sorry.’ Perez gets a year and a day in prison for exam rigging scheme

Federal investigators say he worked with Bridgeport's former acting personnel director David Dunn to rig the police chief exam so he would get the job.

News 12 Staff

Apr 12, 2021, 11:05 AM

Updated 1,099 days ago


AJ Perez, the former chief of police in Bridgeport, was sentenced Monday to one year and one day in prison for his role involving the rigging of the police chief exam in 2018.
As part of the sentence handed down by Judge Kari Dooley, Perez faces two years of supervised released and a fine of $7,500. He must also pay his part of $299,407 in restitution to the city and complete 100 hours of community service.
Perez and his wife slipped out of a side door of the courthouse after the hearing and did not comment on his sentence.
Prior to the ruling, Perez took full responsibility in court, his voice wavering at times:
"I spent all my life on the right side of the table, and I betrayed myself...I panicked. I want to apologize to the good people of Bridgeport that I served."
Perez, who spent 37 years on the force, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements, following his arrest and resignation the month before.
Federal investigators say he worked with Bridgeport's former acting personnel director David Dunn to secretly rig the national police chief search in 2018 to ensure Perez would get the job.
When questioned by federal investigators, both men lied about their actions. Dunn has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on Tuesday.
Perez's attorney Robert Frost pushed for leniency, arguing against incarceration. He said his client lost his career, reputation and life savings, and that, "He is already a walking, living, breathing cautionary tale of what not to do."
The U.S. Attorney's Office argued for "meaningful prison time" – saying Perez abused his power and as the top officer in Connecticut's largest city, how he's sentenced will send a message.
Perez was facing up to two years in prison. In ruling, Judge Dooley noted the number of letters of support she received for Perez. But she also said her sentence needed to promote adherence to the law.
"You ended your career in law enforcement as a convicted felon. You betrayed your oath and every member of the department who took the same oath," she said.
News 12 reached out to the City of Bridgeport for a comment:
“The city has no comment - except to say that this has been a difficult time.” 

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