OFFICER KEEPS JOB AFTER ROMANCING BIKIE BOSS – Thursday March 28 2013

– A policewoman who secretly dated a Hells Angels enforcer while he was on bail for a violent crime and a sergeant who maintained close ties to a criminal bikie boss for more than a decade both avoided dismissal in cases that angered senior police.
Constable Lauren Conte was allowed to remain in her job despite being found guilty of illegally accessing the force’s confidential database to snoop on an associate of Hells Angels Nomads sergeant-at-arms Paul Peterson.
Constable Conte, who allegedly met Peterson while he was facing serious charges in relation to a violent kidnapping, escaped conviction but was given a 12-month good behaviour bond in 2011 by a Ballarat magistrate, who told her she had ruined a promising career.
But last year a police disciplinary board decided to reinstate the suspended constable in a move understood to have infuriated senior police, including Chief Commissioner Ken Lay.
It is believed Mr Lay sought advice about whether he could intervene in the Conte case but was told he could not.
On Wednesday, Mr Lay confirmed revelations that a policeman with close, long-standing and unapproved ties to Comanchero bikie gang president Amad Malkoun kept his job for years despite being the subject of several internal investigations.
“We didn’t have the systems in place…to collect this evidence and actually get this person out of the organisation,” Mr Lay said of former sergeant Richard Gelemanovic, who resigned four months ago while facing his fourth corruption probe in 10 years.
In 2003, the Australian Federal Police reported to Victoria Police the close association between Mr Gelemanovic and Malkoun, who was convicted of heroin trafficking in 1988 and who took over the Comanchero in 2009. Federal agents investigating Malkoun’s suspected drug trafficking in 2003 observed Mr Gelemanovic fly overseas and regularly communicate with the crime boss, prompting the AFP to report its concerns to the Victoria Police Ethical Standards Department and arrange for ESD detectives to conduct surveillance on the pair.
Asked why Mr Gelemanovic had not been disciplined or sacked in 2003, a police spokesman said the allegations wee unable to be determined by ESD.
Mr Gelemanovic’s relationship with members of Malkoun’s syndicate was investigated again in 2008 by the state’s now disbanded police watchdog, the Office of Police Integrity. But it is understood that the OPI shelved it’s inquiry in early 2009 after incorrectly assessing that Mr Gelemanovic would not return to work from sick leave.
In 2011, the OPI discovered that Mr Gelemanovic was still working as a policeman after receiving a complaint from another policing agency about the sergeant’s continuing association with Malkoun.
Between 2003 and 2012, Malkoun’s syndicate was tipped off twice that it was the subject of investigations by secret, multi-agency police drug taskforces, compromising both investigations.
The OPI launched another inquiry into Mr Gelemanovic in 2011 but could not find evidence he was responsible for either leak. But the inquiry confirmed Malkoun’s ongoing association with Mr Gelemanovic, who resigned last November, citing ill health and while still under internal investigation.
The OPI probe was run by its tactical Investigation unit, which uncovered links between a small number of serving and former police officers and bikie figures.
A Fairfax Media investigation can also reveal that the unit was shut down mid-inquiry last year, sparking serious divisions inside the OPI over claims the agency had prematurely ended the probe.
Constable Conte was found guilty in the Ballarat Magistrates Court in 2011 for inappropriately accessing the police database in connection to her relationship with Peterson. The relationship included regular, unapproved contact and is suspected to have begun in 2007, when the bikie – a known crime figure – was reporting on bail to Constable Conte’s station.
Magistrate Michelle Hodgson found Constable Conte guilty of one count of improperly accessing the force database and said she had ruined her career but that, outside of her offending, she was an outstanding citizen.
A police spokesman said in a statement that during a subsequent internal police hearing in May, Constable Conte pleaded guilty to three disciplinary charges and was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond, shifted to a new station and was denied promotion before May 2014 – Nick Mckenzie & Richard Baker

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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