Top DHS official announces retirement amid IG investigation

Posted at 9:24 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 21:24:18-04

Connie Patrick

CNN has learned the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) — which trains a majority of the nation’s federal officers and agents — is stepping down amid investigations by the Office of Inspector General for DHS and by both oversight committees on Capitol Hill.

Connie Patrick, the longest serving component head within DHS, announced her retirement Friday, according to a DHS spokesperson. Patrick plans to retire June 30 after 15 years as director, according to a spokesperson.

Patrick’s retirement comes as the inspector general has been probing allegations of misconduct by senior leadership at FLETC headquarters in Glynco, Georgia. The probe is looking into allegations of “wasteful spending, improper travel and prohibited personnel practices,” according to the House Oversight Committee.

The House Oversight Committee tweeted Monday, “Fed. Law Enforcement Training Centers Director to retire after OGR letter publicly exposed investigation into alleged misconduct.”

But a DHS official said the committee’s tweet is creating a connection where one does not exist. The official said Patrick’s retirement has nothing to do with the investigation, and that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly shared with DHS employees his appreciation for Patrick’s 40 years of dedicated public service.

In early April, the chairs of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House Oversight Committee sent the inspector general a letter requesting more information about the probe. In the letter, the chairs — Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson — wrote: “Whistleblowers have expressed concern to us regarding the OIG’s responsiveness to these allegations.”

CNN has reached out to the Office of Inspector General for comment.

FLETC trains agents and officers from more than 90 federal organizations, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies, in a wide range of areas including, active shooter threats, covert electronic surveillance, protective detail and anti-terrorism training.

In their letter, Chaffetz and Johnson noted the importance of the program — which trains more than 70,000 law enforcement officers a year, according to its website — and will likely see an influx of new trainees under President Donald Trump’s proposal to add 5,000 Customs and Border Protection agents to the agency’s ranks.

“The success of FLETC is vital to the Administration’s plan to hire additional law enforcement officers to secure our borders,” they wrote.