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Cape officer resigns in wake of problem with GED documentation

By Staff | Nov 17, 2011

A Cape Coral police officer recently resigned after officials discovered that he had provided the city with a forged GED document when hired in 2005.

A couple of months ago, Cape Officer Stephen B. Chase applied at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. During Chase’s application process, the background investigator for the sheriff’s office came across a document for his GED.

“When they were looking at the document, it didn’t look quite right,” Maj. Gene Sims, head of the LCSO’s Special Operations Bureau, said Wednesday.

He said the name and completion date looked like they had been added on.

The investigator contacted the school district for the state and obtained a copy of the record to compare the documents and confirm Chase’s GED.

“The document he did supply us was a forgery, so to speak,” Sims said.

Chase had apparently found the GED of someone with the same name and input his own information, like Social Security number, on the document.

“We stopped processing him as an applicant,” Sims said of the discovery.

The LCSO notified the Cape Coral Police Department of the problem, which then conducted its own investigation, according to Cape police officials.

“He resigned before he got fired,” spokesman Lt. Tony Sizemore said.

He added that Chase quit about four to five weeks ago.

According to Sizemore, Chase was hired in 2005 during one of the Cape department’s mass hirings. Processing more than 1,100 applications, the CCPD hired approximately 100 new officers within the 18-month period.

A military veteran, Chase provided a copy of the fake GED at that time.

“That’s one of the problems with mass hirings,” Sizemore said.

Chase did not have any college credits or a college degree when hired.

“It was during a time when we didn’t require that,” Sizemore said, noting that the department now requires a degree. “It’s kind of a mute point now.”

He added that Chase’s work as an officer for the CCPD will remain valid. Chase attended the police academy and is a certified officer with the state.

“His actual work product was good,” Sizemore said. “He did deliver on his service.”

The issue that the department has was the lack of truthfulness.

“It’s concerning that the guy would lie about having it,” Sizemore said.

Chase will not face any criminal charges in connection to the GED forgery. Officials confirmed with the State Attorney’s Office that it did not qualify as identity theft, and the real GED owner was not harmed – was not a victim.

“We’re talking about something that happened six years ago,” Sizemore said. “The actual harm was done to his own reputation and name.

Chase was a patrol officer at the time of his resignation.

His annual salary was about $46,093, according to city records.