A Camden County police officer's husband accused of leading a drug ring has a long criminal history, according to court records, including a 2006 incident in which authorities said he tried to pull a stolen 9mm handgun on a Collingswood police officer.
Having a spouse with a record does not disqualify someone from becoming a police officer, Camden County Chief Scott Thomson said this week. Criminal justice experts agree but say the gravity of the crimes and how recently they occurred should play a role.
Ashley Bailey, the 28-year-old officer charged Wednesday in the Camden drug network, did not have any brushes with the law in her past, according to Thomson and court records.
Whether she disclosed the troubled past of her husband, Edwin Ingram, before she joined the department in July 2013 is unknown. The application requires candidates to reveal the criminal records of any boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses past and present. Thomson has declined to say what the department knew about Ingram at the time of Bailey's hiring.
Authorities said Bailey fed her husband confidential information from police reports and departmental hearings.
Ingram and his brother Nathan allegedly helped lead the network, which police said sold $1.2 million annually in heroin and crack cocaine across South Jersey.
Forty people linked to the drug ring have been arrested. Bailey faces charges of official misconduct and conspiracy and has been suspended without pay pending termination.
She was a correctional officer in Delaware at the state women's prison between January 2010 and June 2011, and at Wilmington's all-male correctional facility in the next two years.
She resigned from her position there on July 14, 2013. The next day, she was hired at the Camden County Police Department, and she patrolled one of the city's southern districts for $43,177 a year.
It's unclear how Bailey and Ingram met and not known when they got married.
In January 2004, Ingram was incarcerated for robbery, serving about a year and a half.
In December 2006, when he was pulled over by the Collingswood officer, Ingram had been suspected of firing seven shots into a window in the 2300 block of South Eighth Street in Camden. The intended victim was not named in court documents.
Ingram, according to the files, tried pulling from his waistband a 9mm Luger handgun - that had been reported stolen - as the officer sought to arrest him. Ingram was eventually charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, among other crimes.
Those charges were dismissed in a plea bargain in which Ingram pleaded guilty to a weapons charge and served time from March 2007 to December 2011. He was incarcerated at the A.C. Wagner and Garden State youth correctional facilities.
On Wednesday, a table and a dog barred the door to a Camden house where, according to public records, members of Ingram's family live.
Bailey's family lives in Oaklyn.
A man who answered the door at the home Thursday asked for privacy until their attorney was ready to comment.
Criminal justice experts say police departments vary on whether they will hire applicants whose spouses have criminal records.
"I don't think that having a spouse with a record blanketly eliminates someone from becoming a police officer," said John DeCarlo, a former police chief in Branford, Conn., and associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. "That would be discriminatory."
Police departments, he said, should look at how long ago the crimes happened, how serious they were, and whether the spouse has stayed out of trouble since.
"It's a judgment call," DeCarlo said. "And it's either bad judgment or good judgment."
The Camden County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday the charges against Bailey wouldn't jeopardize any indictable cases - those involving major crimes such as shootings and severe beatings.
Camden Municipal Court, which deals with disorderly conduct and other minor offenses, had not received a request from attorneys to review Bailey's cases as of Thursday.