Police chief took on basic army roles despite allegations of harassment


MADISON, Wis. – A former police chief was able to move between assignments at US Army bases despite allegations that he sexually harassed women on a base and that his bad behavior may have played a role in the suicide of a colleague, according to Army documents obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal.

The newspaper reported that Ryan Cunningham became police chief at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin in 2016, months after an investigation at Fort Wainwright in Alaska revealed he sexually harassed an Army sergeant and had made unwanted advances as well as to other women while he was the acting police of this base. chief. Cunningham resigned while the investigation was ongoing.

An investigation at Fort McCoy, about 110 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Madison, found that Cunningham often used slurs to refer to his officers and that the hostile work environment may have contributed to James Hamilton’s suicide. the former director of base emergency services. , who died in 2020. The inquest noted that it was inconclusive that Cunningham’s behavior was a factor in Hamilton’s death.

Hamilton and Cunningham worked together for about six months at Fort McCoy before Cunningham left the base in January 2020 to become a temporary police chief at another base, the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He eventually became the base’s strategic planner, according to his LinkedIn page, although a spokesperson for the base said he no longer worked there.

Cunningham declined to comment.

Cunningham’s movement between bases raises questions about the Army’s ability to track sexual misconduct by civilian employees. Fort Wainwright spokeswoman Eve Baker said the base investigation was a “local level” investigation and there was no central repository for investigative document releases. But she said commanders would have told future employers that Cunningham had left the base during the investigation if asked.

Fort McCoy spokeswoman Tonya Townsell referred questions about Cunningham to the Civilian Resources Agency, which oversees the hiring of civilians at the base. Amy Stevens, division manager at the resource agency, declined to comment.

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