The former top law enforcement officer for the City of Columbia was indicted in federal court Thursday, March 10 in Bowling Green.
Jason Cross, 44, retired as Columbia Police Chief in March 2021, and is accused of stealing more than $25,000 from the department by unlawfully taking from the evidence locker as well as the drug fund, which is cash meant for undercover buys. The crimes are alleged to have occurred between February 2020 and February 2021.
Columbia Police Chief Junior Murphy and Columbia Mayor Pam Hoots issued a joint statement regarding the indictment Thursday evening.
“The City of Columbia and Columbia City Police Dept. discovered the discrepancies upon the retirement of former Police Chief Jason Cross which were referred to federal authorities. The City of Columbia and Columbia City Police Department will have no further comment at this time regarding the recent federal indictment of Jason Cross. All questions and requests are referred to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky.”
The case is taken up by the federal government because the sum he’s accused of stealing exceeds $5,000 and he was employed by a city that received more than $10,000 a year in federal aid.
Cross appeared in U.S. District Court Thursday before Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl. A conviction for Cross’ charge carries a 10-year maximum sentence.
The announcement on Cross’ indictment was made by U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett, and Asst. U.S. Attorney David Weiser is the prosecutor.
An indictment is a formal charge and does not imply innocence or guilt.