A Northern California police department employee has been arrested on weapons charges and placed on administrative leave after an FBI investigation revealed he authored hateful posts on a website that included support for shooting police officers, authorities said Friday.
Dennis Shevchenko, 40, works as a community service officer but does not have arrest powers, Police Chief Anthony Mata said during a news conference. Shevchenko has been employed with the department since 2012.
The FBI informed the police department about its investigation Oct. 14, and Shevchenko was arrested that night while on duty, Mata said.
“This incident is unfortunate, and I am extremely disappointed that an employee in our organization may have harbored and spread these hateful messages,” Mata told reporters.
During a search of Shevchenko’s home, investigators seized multiple firearms and other items, Mata said. Shevchenko faces charges of possession of a concealed firearm, possession of an assault weapon and possession of a concealed dirk or dagger.
He also allegedly brought a firearm into the police station and kept it in his locker, authorities said.
Shevchenko’s status as a non-sworn employee means he is not permitted to carry a gun. His duties include assisting patrols, officer intake reports, responding to traffic accidents and directing traffic.
His alleged online posts involved messages of a “political nature” related to violence and threats, the police chief said. The chief said it was unclear if Shevchenko was involved in the Jan. 6. riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Mata added that new recruits and current employees are screened for similar ideologies.
Shevchenko will remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Mata said.