Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Question regarding Haddon Township Police Officer Jason Dement's college diploma.

Update 11/09/17:  The disposition letter, dated May 23, 2016, was sent to the wrong P.O. Box, so I never received it.  The case was administratively dismissed against the officer.

Update 04/14/16: I obtained evidence that Dement received $500 for satisfying the degree requirement.

I wrote the following letter today to the Mayor and governing body of Haddon Township in Camden County.

February 16, 2016

Hon. Randall W. Teague, Mayor and
Commissioners Paul Dougherty and John C. Foley
Township of Haddon
Via e-mail only to mayorteague@haddontwp.com, pdougherty@haddontwp.com, jfoley@haddontwp.com

Dear Mayor Teague and Commissioners Dougherty and Foley:

Would you please add to tonight's Caucus Meeting agenda a discussion of Haddon Police Officer Jason Dement's compliance with  the Education Requirement Policy contained within Police Department General Order 95-3.

G.O. 95-3, which I obtained on February 1, 2016 by way of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, requires all Township police officers to "have earned the minimum of a Baccalaureate Degree from an accredited college or university, having maintained a 2.0 minimum grade point average."

In response to my subsequent OPRA request for a copy of Officer Jason Dement's Baccalaureate Degree, I was provided with a certificate purporting that Officer Dement "successfully completed the Bachelor's Program from Rochville University in the year 2010" and earned a 3.19 GPA.

An Internet search for "Rochville University" leads to a May 17, 2015 New York Times article titled "Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions" by Declan Walsh that states that Rochville University is owned by Axact, a Pakistan-based company.  According to the article, "Axact’s main business has been to take the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees and turn it into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale."  The article goes on to reference a 2007 case where a British court jailed a fake police criminologist "who claimed to have degree certificates from the Axact-owned Rochville University."

Further Internet searching turned up two articles from Forbes and Fortune, published on October 23, 2013 and June 28, 2011 respectively, that report that Rochville University granted an MBA degree to a dog named Chester in 2009.  According to the Fortune article, Chester earned his on-line degree and a 3.2 GPA (which, incidentally, is higher than Officer Dement's GPA) in a week at a cost of $499.  The Fortune article, which was written after Dement received his Rochville degree in 2010, goes on to state that "the folks behind Rochville are still willing to peddle empty degrees."

I hope that this information warrants an investigation by the Board of Commissioners.

Very truly yours,

/s/ John Paff