August 17, 2023
The FBI arrested a number of Bay Area police officers in raids Thursday morning as part of a corruption investigation that began when the officers were allegedly found to be cheating on college tests to obtain degrees that guaranteed them pay raises, the East Bay Times reported.
At least five officers had made appearances in U.S. District Court in Oakland Thursday morning, according to the newspaper.
The Times reported in December that officers from the Pittsburg and Antioch departments allegedly recruited a woman to take online college courses and pass tests in their names, in an attempt to gain pay bumps the departments give to officers who obtain college degrees.
The officers were able to get pay raises varying from 2% to 10% once they had the degrees. The cities reimbursed the officers for tuition.
Some of the officers took classes online at California Coast University in Orange County in August 2019 and March 2021, the newspaper reported. The private for-profit online school, advertises in the Police Officers Research Association of California’s magazine, among other law enforcement publications.
As the degree probe unfolded, the FBI found what the newspaper has reported as thousands of racist text messages on the officers’ cellphones, deeply riling the eastern Contra Costa County cities and widening the investigation.