Former Bel Aire Police Chief John Daily – indicted this week on federal firearms charges – issued a statement Thursday defending himself.
The indictment alleges that Daily, police chief from May 2006 to December 2013, “signed paperwork for the purchase of three Sig Sauer Model 716 Patrol, 7.62 mm rifles, falsely stating that the military style weapons were being purchased for use by the police department and would not be sold,” according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “In fact, the rifles were not approved for officers to carry on duty,” Grissom’s office said. “By misrepresenting the rifles as police department property, the defendants were able to take advantage of special pricing and tax exemptions.”
Daily’s attorney, Steve Joseph, said in a statement that “hundreds of documents prepared by his staff would routinely cross Chief Daily’s desk for his signature. … He trusted his staff and had no reason to doubt any single document’s veracity.”
“In hindsight, Chief Daily should have more carefully read every document before he signed it. Still, he did not deliberately intend to defraud anyone. Federal law, however, makes very negligent conduct by a person the same as actual intent.”
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Daily’s statement included background on his career, including that he had been a Sedgwick County sheriff’s lieutenant “overseeing the department’s professional standards” and was a past president of the Kansas Peace Officers Association.
“For more than 40 years, my life has been devoted to protecting and serving this community,” Daily said in the statement. “ … I am deeply disappointed by any news report suggesting that I would knowingly participate in anything illegal.”
On Tuesday, Grissom announced the indictment naming Daily and a former Bel Aire officer, Ricky Swanson. The indictment alleges that defendants “conspired to buy firearms at a discount by claiming the weapons were the property of the police department and would be used for law enforcement purposes,” according to a statement from Grissom’s office.
Daily, 62, and Swanson, 39, are both charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. They are the third and fourth defendants charged in the case. Nathan A. Mavia, 26, and Robert McCaslin, 41, both of Wichita, were previously charged.
Daily’s attorney said the “combined savings to the officers from the reduced prices and exemption from certain taxes probably amounted to no more than a few hundred dollars.”
Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.