FBI investigates Hutchinson Police Department

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KAKE) -

On February 25, calls came flooding into Reno County 911. At least seven calls were made by five different people. They were reporting seeing an erratic car.
 
Caller #1: "He's crossing in front of a semi right now." 
Dispatcher: "He's coming across a semi?" 
Caller #1: "Yeah, he got back over in time."

Caller #2: "She looked to be a younger lady, blonde."

Caller #3: "Currently driving down the middle of the road, swerving clear over into the grass, clear over to the other side."

Eventually, Hutchinson Police caught up with the vehicle. You can imagine the surprise when the officers discovered the driver was someone they knew. 

Anna Ruzhanovska was four-year veteran and the face of the Hutchinson Police Department's community policing division. She says she was off-duty, and driving with her baby in the car when she had a medical emergency. 

"I'm a new mom, you know. I had postpartum depression," Ruzhanovska said.

But the traffic stop raised a few eyebrows within the department after it got out that Ruzhanovska never underwent a field sobriety test. And if it was a medical emergency, why weren't paramedics called? Former police officer Devin Berman says these are just a few of the questions that need answers.

"The captain ended up passing down an order to have her transported to the station," Berman said. "And at some point in the communication they were also ordered to turn off their body cams and the cameras inside the car."

While the police department has yet to comment, Berman pushed the Reno County District Attorney to investigate the traffic stop. City Manager John Deardoff confirms the FBI is investigating whether Ruzhanovska was given preferential treatment. Deardoff says the city has launched it's own investigation as well.

And in an email from District Attorney Keith Schroeder, to Berman, Schroeder says "I confirmed that the FBI will be looking into this matter."

"These are people that the community trusts," Berman said. "They need to be capable of maintaining a high level of integrity."

Ruzhanovska says she wasn't given preferential treatment.  After the stop, she and her child went home and thought the incident was behind them. 

"I was assessed by three other people, and once they figured out that it was not drug induced or alcohol induced and they knew I was having a medical emergency, they told me to either go to the hospital or go home," she said.

Ruzhanovska who has since resigned, thinks Berman and others in the department are using her case to prevent a police captain who was on duty that night from getting a promotion. She says as of today, she hasn't been contacted about any investigation. 

"Nothing criminal happened. I was just used in this political game," she said.

KAKE On Your Side investigates has requested all of the body camera and dash camera footage from the traffic stop. We also called and emailed the chief of police for a comment, but haven't heard back. 
 

Photos courtesy of hutchnews.com 

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