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Your brutally honest opinion about suspension incident


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  • Your brutally honest opinion about suspension incident

    Whether you agree or disagree, I want LEO input on this, especially if you're employed in Texas. (ad even better if you're not civil service......I know...I know)

    Bear with me on this......it's a little long but I need some advice from the experience from this forum, who I've learned alot from. And I can't trust to many people I work with.

    I know that most people that get in "trouble" usually find some reasoning in their own mind to justify or give excuses for their actions. As a police officer for almost 7 years, I can whole-heartedly say that this is the honest truth of the incident, and I'm at a loss on what's happening. The IA is over, so I can talk about it, even though it's hard to explain and understand.

    On 12/16/07 at night, I see a car with defective brake light. I light 'em up, then get behind them. I immediately notice the male subject (since I've now spot-lighted) make a phone call and start fumbling with something on the passenger seat. I start hitting the siren, because although we're now only going 20 MPH, he's still not pulling over. He then starts waving me, as if saying "follow me, come on). He goes for about a 1/2 mile, then pulls into his driveway, where **surprisingly** his wife is standing outside. He gets out of the car, acting like he didn't know I was behind him. I order her back in the house, and ID him, although he doesn't have a DL.

    He's very nervous and I ask for consent to search. He says "It' my wife's car, so I don't know if I can give consent." As we get to talking, he decides he can outrun me in the woods behind his house. After about a 1/4 mile chase, he tries to jump a barbed-wire fence, loses that attempt, and gets caught up in the fence. I gain on him, then notice him "hiding" in a bush. Get him out and gunpoint and arrest him. I notice he's missing a shoe. Mirandize him and strt walking him back to the car. I ask "why did you run", he says becasue he has warrants. Dispatch says he doesn't have warrants. I tell him he ran for no reason, he then says "I have a bag of weed in my pocket". Not a big deal, but I'm wondering, why didn't he throw it while running....there's gotta be something in the car.

    By the time I get back to the cars, 3 back-up units have arrives, one being a Sergeant who, although is not my Sgt., we've had run-ins before. EMS is on scene and start attending to him. I find the bag of weed in his jacket and that's it. I tell the Sgt. to stay with the subject because now the wife is calmly sitting on the front stairs smoking a cig, acting like nothing happened. So immediately suspect she got something (drugs) out of the car, and I'm about to bluff her. Since we don't have cameras in the car (not my fault), I bluff her and tell her I'm gonna check the camera and if she took something, I'm gonna arrest her. She gets scared, but won't admit anything. Next thing I know, Sgt. has placed subject in ambulance and orders me to follow them to the hospital. I tell him
    a) I haven't searched the car
    b) I haven't searched where he ran
    c)I wanted to take pictures of the fence full of blood so not to get accused of beating him, since we get alot of that with different races arrests. (I'm Hispani, he's black.)

    Sgt. says "No, follow the ambulance". I tell him, again, what I need to do. He says to leave now and other calls are holding they have to get to. He send two other notoriously lazy guys (= lazy searchers) to quickly search the car and they find nothing while I follow the ambulance ****ed off.

    The next week, I get promoted to detective, which I've been working for my entire career. Tha day after that, I get called in and asked if I remember if this guy had $300 and a cell phone. They tell me to write a memo about it, so I do without thinking it a big deal (he told me he's unemployed, so $300 is a stretch...plus, it took 10 days for him to remember it's missing). So i write the memo and turn it in. I'm then told that I'm under IA investigation for "taking his property", and until it's complete, my promotion (scheduled to start on 1/1/08) was on hold. I asked for a opy of the statement, and was told that it already went to the IA detective, but he'ss off until after the holidays. (this was the day after XMAS).

    Of course, I'm now mad and wondering what is going on. I go to the jail and pull his booking and release sheets, which both show he signed for $1.31 when he got there and was released the next day. I though the Lt. & Sgt. should have pulled this, since nobody did. I show it to them, and they said the detective will look into that, and that I shouldn't interfere, and not to talk about this to anybody

    On 1/2/08 (1 full week of worrying), I get called into the interview. I'm given a Garritty Warning (finally). I'm told they don't believe he had money (he said mom lent it to him, and mom doesn't remember giving him money anytime withing a year). So I'm a little happy about that, thinking it's all over. Then the questions start about his cell phone. I tell him I saw a phone before he pulled over, but I didn't keep track of it while he was running. I say "what did his phone records say?" He says, "what do you mean?" I told him asking for the records can point to someone, or see if he's lying about the phone. I then get a copy of the complaint. After reading the complaint in shock, I then find out that:
    1) he states I told him he was pulled over for "No reason" (hmmm...)
    2) thecell phone belongs to his wife, but she's scared to come in becasue she has a warrant (???)
    3) he never says I took the phone. He says it was put on the patrol car when he was searched "in front of everybody". (4 cops, 4 EMS, 1 firefighter)

    I ask why I'm the only one being investigated since I was never accused of anything. He lost a shoe while running...he could've lost more. The 3 hour interview (!!!!) is geared towards the opinion that I should have made sure his vehicle did not have his phone and that EMS did not have it. I explain that never got o search the car and that the Sgt. rushed me, which is corroborated by the other officers on scene. I'm told it doesn't matter, since it's my arrest, I'm accountable. I respond by saying that since I'm ordered off the scene by a Sgt. 3 times (almost insubordinate), it's now his scene. I'm told I should have explained better that I needed to stay in scene. At this point, I'm starting to see that somehthing's going on here, and it's not right.

    The detctive says he's still investigating and will turn in his findings to the top man, who will decide what to do. 1 week later, I'm called in and met by the new patrol Lt., who just got promoted to this position on 1/1/08. Not the Sgt. I had beef with, but someone who wanted to make a name. I'm told that since the complainant would not be missing his cell phone had I not pulled him over, it's ultimately my responsibility. This blew my mind and started an argument. I say that him RUNNING is the reason he lost the phone. They state "since you admitted you saw the phone while he was in the car, SOMETHING happened to it." I say "Yea, he lost it. I didn;t care about his phone during the chase." I also was not allowed to search the scene, so the Sgt. should have found it. I'm told that although 3 other cops heard him order me to leave, he doesn't remember rushing me. Since he doesn't remember, I ask if his DVD hard drive camera system recorded his orders. I'm told his system "accidentally" recorded over itself aftr 16 days, even though he knew about the investigation 10 days before his interview and the request for his video.

    I'm then toldthat "failure to properly handle evidence" was my policy violation. I was supended without pay for 5 days, placed on probationary status, and upon serving suspension, must return to a FTO program. So, I scan down to the bottom of theinvestigative report written by IA, and it says "There is no proof or evidence that Deputy XXXXXX took or deprived, or is depriving XXXXX from his property". I look up in amazement and ask if he read the report. He says that since I'm one of the best at the agency (finalist for Cop of the year last year), I'm held to a higher standard.

    Then I'm told, since I'll be on probationary status, I cannot be placed into Investigations and must wait 6 months to re-test. So, I'm on the brink of losing it, but I suck it up and leave and immediately request an appeal. The suspension is put on hold until the appeal is done and redered. I have the appeal early this week with the head person in charge, and for 4 hours tell my story and all of the problems. I'm told I made a good case and I'll hear my fate on Friday (tomorrow). So I'm confident until I find out that my detective position was filled by another person yesterday (after my appeal...before my verdict). There are no more positions available, and I don't know what to do.

    I've been with TMPA (police association) and they are salivating with all of the proof I have. As you can tell, we're not civil service, and I found out that the new detective is from outside the agency and good friends with the higher-ups.

    For your info, I've never been written up, and the complainant has been arrested 19 times, 5 for cocaine possession and 2 for evading. He never once called back asking for a status of the investigation or if his prperty was "found".

    If you know what agency I'm with, since the details stand out, don't let it out please. But I'm interested in LEO opinions only and ask any questions. I'm not exaggeratting on any of this, and not leaving anything relevant out. But ask away and help me out. Doesn't it leave out a fair appeal if the verdict hasn't been rendered yet????

  • #2
    All I can say is that is proof that you need to be unionized. There is no excuse for any agency to not be a union shop.
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


    • #3
      Yikes bro... I can't offer any advice but my mouth is hanging open at that. Ordered to write memos concerning an investigation prior to invoking Garrity, and a suspension/return to probie status??


      • #4
        I'm amazed with the 5 days without pay for "failure to properly handle evidence." If you never had the "evidence" (and I'm not sure why his cell phone would be considered evidence...maybe personal property of an arrestee, but not evidence), the how could you be held accountable for it? And, even assuming that the complaint is legitimate, there's no way that's a violation of sufficient seriousness for a 5 day suspension (assuming that there are no similar prior disciplinary actions against you, making it progressive discipline).

        For whatever reason, somebody's out to get you.
        "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
        -Friedrich Nietzsche


        • #5
          Did they want to make the # 2 guy on the list a detective instead of you. Awfull lot of fuss over a cell phone. Even crooks dont steal cell phones anymore they are so cheep.

          I am not saying you are holding back info but somebody is..there is way more to this..maybe that Sgt was looking to prevent you from going up? Nothing tics off your enemies liek your sucess, maybe he was gunning for an excuse to prevent you from going up...a month before I made Detective my Sgt. told me to "Play fireman" and sit somewhere until I got a call and then let the junior guy handle it. He wanted me to lay low so nothing could screw things up for me.
          Originally posted by FJDave
          GM, you have just set the bar that much higher for the rest of us in our witty, sarcastic responses. I yield to you! Good job, kind Sir!

          District B13
          "We are not cops nor Feds." yet he still poses as an officer Hmmmm

          Grant us grace, fearlessly, to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression.--WWII memorial

          "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

          Pope Gregory V II


          • #6
            Wow. Sounds like you are being railroaded. I hope things come out in your favor, that's why I went from a small department to a large one 20 years ago.

            I understand small Department politics and you have to be careful, but it's hard to suck it up when the B.S. gets shoved in your face. We have a strong union and my department is big enough to move to another area with a whole new crop of supervisors if need be. I'd have the Sgt. standing tall and take it to the media if I had to. Hope it goes your way, looking forward to reading the outcome.

            Good Luck!


            • #7
              Interesting. Your Sgt ordered you off the scene although you "advised" him that you believed property may have been left nearby. And shownuff, your getting slapped with failure to properly secure property? Something stinks......


              • #8
                Judging from only one side of the story, I'll say it sounds as if that there Sgt. messed up and now they are covering his tail. Come down hard on you, then slack off and expect you to be grateful for "any leniency". Bait and switch.

                It sucks .......
                "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

                "Beautiful Daughter of the Stars."(it's my home now)

                >>>>> A Time for Choosing <<<<<

                Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.


                • #9
                  I'm pretty shocked reading your story. Even if I could miss something (my english is not good enought to be sure ), I found it a nightmare.
                  I don't know your IA rules, 'cause I'm working in the other side of the ocean.. but, I'm wondering.. what about IMEI phone records? The guy compliant about his phone. Ok, can you ask to the phone Company the records on THAT phone, searching by IMEI, to know if the phone is active, and if yes, with what SIM? That's could help, I think.. regaards, Fabrizio.


                  • #10
                    I know, I have been there... when you loose faith in the people that you have worked with for so long it just makes you feel like poop. Time to find a new job.


                    • #11
                      Ive had a mess like that in my past. Your story and mine is why i now have a 18 hour digital recorder going on all incidents from start to finish.


                      • #12
                        Taking your statement at face value, obviously something stinks to high heaven. A couple of questions. What's the line of appeal in your agency? IOW, once you get the "verdict" in your current appeal, if you disagree with the outcome, what are your legal options? You say your agency is "not civil service" and being from Connecticut I'm not clear on the full implications of that. I'm guessing you also mean the department is nonunion (echoed by some of the responses you've been getting) and that TMPA does not have collective bargaining status. What resources are they able to provide to you? If the matter ended up in court (not saying you should go that route) do they provide an attorney?

                        Just trying to get the complete picture of your situation...



                        • #13
                          It sounds like you're someone's "pet project" and that you're being railroaded. (Been there). I'd get with whatever legal representation you have, have them question the Sgt. and officers as to their involvment AFTER you left the scene and go form there. It sounds like the Sgt. neglected to insure there was a secure crime scene after the primary officer (you) left and now the Dept is trying to cover it's tracks or someone is trying to insure you don't get out of Patrol. If that's the case you're better off simply li9cking your wounds, let the legal reps battle it out & start looking for a new agency as (trust me) they'll never let up & you'll be a 20yr+ Patrolman if "They" don't fire you first.


                          • #14
                            Sounds like you're being screwed.


                            • #15
                              This has F***ed up all over it! That seems to be a lot to go through over a cell phone that the Suspect stated you never took. I also think it's BS that the Sgt is not being held accountable at all. Best of luck
                              "Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."


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