I-TEAM: Former BRPD officer accused of sex crimes faced similar allegations at prior agency

Former Baton Rouge Police Department officer Wade Hill is facing criminal sex charges and a pair of federal lawsuits.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 4:53 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Former Baton Rouge Police Department officer Wade Hill is facing criminal sex charges and a pair of federal lawsuits, alleging he took advantage of women while wearing the badge. The WAFB I-TEAM has learned it’s not the first time he’s been accused of something similar.

Hill was in his second year with BRPD when he allegedly abused the power that came along with his badge. He was arrested in fall 2022 and charged with kidnapping, sexual battery, obscenity and malfeasance for an encounter where he’s accused of crossing the line with a woman while in uniform. Back in July 2022, investigators claim the former officer showed up to a trespassing call and it did not take long before things allegedly took a turn.

RELATED >>> I-TEAM: Woman sues BRPD, claims officer sexually assaulted her

According to a civil lawsuit, the 41-year-old ex-cop handcuffed a woman who was accused of trespassing before driving her to a vacant apartment on Highland Road. That’s where he’s accused of pleasuring himself in front of her. He later allegedly dropped her off at a nail salon and offered her money for a manicure. Legal analyst Ken Levy calls it a clear violation.

“It’s disturbing but fortunately he’s off the police force and hopefully he’ll never be hired again as a police officer,” said Levy.

Another lawsuit filed against Hill alleges he took advantage of another woman back in January 2022. After showing up to a domestic dispute call, this time, he’s accused of driving that woman to the same apartment after she begged him not to arrest her. Once there, the lawsuit alleges he told the woman the charges would be dropped against her as long as she had sex with him. The city and BRPD are both named in the pair of lawsuits, which blame them for not properly vetting or training the former officer.

Hill has worked at a few different agencies during his time in law enforcement, including with the Plaquemine Police Department and the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. It was during his time with the sheriff’s office that he was accused of taking things too far with another woman while wearing the badge. According to a discipline record from the sheriff’s office, Hill asked for a woman’s number during a traffic stop and even texted her several times offering to take care of the ticket.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked Levy what problem exists when a police officer attempts to use their position and badge to try and get peoples’ phone numbers while on the clock to then contact them later to meet up.

“It’s horrible,” said Levy. “Police officers, we trust them to enforce the law and some officers think that therefore they are above the law and this officer seems to be one of those. He abused his office, his power and his public trust.”

When he was caught, Hill was hit with a two-day suspension without pay. That was in 2016, years before his time at BRPD. Now Levy questions why something like this was not flagged before he was picked up to protect and serve in Baton Rouge.

“[The] Baton Rouge Police Department should have done their due diligence, and maybe they did, but if they did not they should have to see what kind of police officer he was,” said Levy. “So, they definitely should have done their research and I hope they did.”

It’s unclear if a violation like this one would have shown up on a background check and it’s also unclear if anyone from BRPD asked about Hill’s discipline record prior to hiring him. When asked about whether someone from BRPD reached out to the agency about his background, a source with the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office tells WAFB there’s no record of whether BRPD reached out or not.

Either way, Levy says the former officer should never be allowed to serve in law enforcement again.

“There’s definitely a pattern,” said Levy. “There’s at least two incidents now and I do wonder if there are more, but this person just has no business serving as a police officer.”

A spokesman with BRPD released the following statement regarding the matter.

“It is a standard operational procedure of the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Recruiting Division to conduct background investigations on all sworn, and non-sworn applicants.”

WAFB did follow up to see if those procedures were followed in Hill’s hiring and was given the following response.

The Baton Rouge Police Department’s hiring process for police officers consist of seven steps from beginning to end for each applicant that poses interest our agency. The steps are as followed:

1.) Entrance Exam & Application

2.) Intake

3.) Physical Assessment

4.) Fingerprinting & Photos

5.) Personal History

6.) Background Investigation

7.) Final Selection

To gather more information about each unique step in the BRPD’s hiring process, please visit the web link included below. The Baton Rouge Police Department is an equal opportunity organization that insures a fair and impartial process for each applicant interested in joining our organization.

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