Suspended State Trooper indicted for phantom ticket scheme

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“We are an organization that recognizes while fulfilling our sacred mission to protect and serve the public, we must also hold our own members accountable for any actions that jeopardize public trust.” | Said Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Melissa Zebley.

WILMINGTON (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced Tuesday that the Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust has indicted a suspended State Trooper for orchestrating a fraudulent warning/ticket scheme that has victimized dozens of motorists, though the full scale of his misconduct is yet to be determined.

Delaware State Police leadership contacted DCRPT in May 2021 to alert prosecutors that a DSP internal review had unveiled a serious pattern of fraudulent E-Warnings issued by Cpl. Edwin R. Ramirez.  

The review was initiated after one of Ramirez’s supervising officers reported discrepancies he had discovered in one of Ramirez’s reports. Cpl. Ramirez was immediately suspended pending the investigation to ensure no further harm was done.  The ensuing investigation found that in April 2021 alone, Ramirez issued more than 30 fraudulent warnings and/or tickets without motorists being informed — and, in some cases, with no traffic stop actually occurring.

“These victims deserve an apology for getting wrapped up in this ridiculous scheme,” said Attorney General Jennings. “This kind of ham-fisted misconduct undermines the work that good police officers do every day to earn and honor the public’s trust. The accolades that this Trooper misappropriated are not worth the felony charges he’s now facing. Traffic stops should be about road safety, not padding performance reviews, and we’re grateful to DSP for doing the right thing as soon as they uncovered the criminal activity.”

“The Delaware State Police values our relationship with the public and as demonstrated in the case, have policies in place to evaluate and investigate all incidents of misconduct,” said Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Melissa Zebley. “We are an organization that recognizes while fulfilling our sacred mission to protect and serve the public, we must also hold our own members accountable for any actions that jeopardize public trust.”

While E-Warnings do not carry a financial penalty, they do harm drivers. Drivers with E-Warnings are less likely to be given consideration in future traffic encounters with police, and more likely to be stopped in the first place.

Following the internal investigation, a DSP investigator received a search warrant for Ramirez’s police car and recovered from the center console a sheet kept by Ramirez displaying Troop 9’s troopers and their productivity statistics, along with his own 2019 and 2020 yearly evaluations which included commendations for traffic productivity.

On February 2, 2021, Ramirez was recognized as the recipient of the “2020 Troop 9 Traffic Ace” award. In a performance commendation, Ramirez’s Captain notes that Ramirez issued 458 traffic citations and 640 traffic E-Warnings in 2020 alone. DCRPT continues to investigate the full extent of Ramirez’s potential misconduct outside of April 2021.

Ramirez now faces charges of Tampering with Public Records in the First Degree (Class E Felony), Issuing a False Certificate (Class G Felony), Falsifying Business Records (Class A Misdemeanor), and Official Misconduct (Class A Misdemeanor). If convicted on all charges, Ramirez faces a statutory maximum sentence of 9 years in prison.

Anyone who feels they may have been impacted by Ramirez’s actions and has questions may email DCRPT at publictrust@delaware.gov or contact the Delaware State Police via DSP’s Customer Satisfaction Survey.

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Delaware Newsline is a digital Delaware News Organization that provides local and national breaking news content to its Delaware and U.S. audience, by utilizing multiple platforms including web, social media, and video.

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