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  • Cops with a badge and a criminal record?

    Cops with a badge and a criminal record?

    09:43 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    By Jeremy Rogalski / 11 News Investigates

    The story behind the story| Jeremy Rogalski's 11 News report


    Professor Mark Kellar is disappointed.

    “I think the public should and does expect a higher standard,” he said.


    Police officers with criminal records allowed to stay on the job.
    Kellar teaches criminal justice, often to police officers, at the University of Houston.

    “I don’t think it’s unfair for the public to expect their money’s worth,” Kellar said.

    Kellar has another unique vantage point too: He’s a retired jail administrator.

    So what’s he so concerned about? The results of an 11 News investigation into how some HPD officers manage to hold onto a badge despite breaking the law.

    “I’m just appalled at how much HPD puts up with,” he said.

    We got our hands on every disciplinary action HPD has taken against one of its own. Those 18,000 records include problems like misconduct, untruthfulness and sleeping on duty.

    But there are also 296 officers that the department determined committed actual criminal activity who are still employed as police officers.

    Officers like Mark Hill who one evening committed a drunken hit‑and‑run on the Katy Freeway. The then off-duty officer fled the scene. Yet HPD only gave him a 90-day suspension.

    We caught up with him in uniform and about to climb into his cruiser.

    11 News: “Is that what an officer of the law should be doing?”

    Hill: “I have no comment about that sir, thank you.”

    11 News: “Does the public deserve better?”

    Hill: “Sir ... I’ve already ... I have no comment about that, thank you very much.”

    He then climbed into his car and shut the door.

    Then there is Officer Karen Jerger. While off‑duty, she held a party at her home in Tomball, where underage kids were drinking alcohol.

    Records show it was some party, with one boy “in the front doorway throwing up” and another “passed out on a hallway floor lying in a puddle of vomit.”

    On top of all of this? Officer Jerger was waving around a “.22-caliber rifle” to “reinforce the party was over.”

    Professor Keller’s reaction?

    “What kind of fool is going to pull out a rifle in front of a bunch of drunk kids?” he said. “That’s crazy; that’s nuts.”

    But HPD only gave Officer Jerger a 16‑day suspension and kept her on the force.

    And 11 News also found cops with serious administrative violations who were kept on the force.

    For example:

    •Officer Kenneth Smallwood, who sexually harassed a female court clerk and, according to HPD records, asked “her how much you need” as in money for sex and also was “grabbing his crotch” saying the female clerk should “bend over so he could perform anal intercourse.” The result: Smallwood was given 30 days off.

    •Officer Dimitrios Karavantos, who ran county toll booths without paying not once, not twice, but more than 1,600 times and owed more than $16,000, according to the Toll Authority. The resultant: HPD punishment was 15 days suspension.

    11 News approched Officer Karavantos one day while he was off-duty.

    11 News: “What were you thinking there?”

    Karavantos: “I don’t want to talk about that.”

    However, Karavantos did say he’s since been paying off his past due amount.

    Ask Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt if he is giving any of the questioned officers too long of a leash, and he says, “No, I don’t think so.”

    “People make mistakes, and we give officers an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves,” Chief Hurtt said.

    But when we shared some of the cases we found, Chief Hurtt said, ”In some cases would I like to do a lot more, I most certainly would.”

    However, Chief Hurtt said he is handcuffed by the powerful Houston Police Officers Union, which has a team of attorneys ready to fight for troubled cops including using an outside arbitrator.

    “You can’t prove this case; I’m going to get it overturned,” Attorney Burt Ligon said. “Our job is often to create hoops and see if the department can jump through those hoops”

    And if the department can’t make those jumps: “Chief Hurtt takes a whoopin.’” That can leave misbehaving or even lawbreaking cops on the streets.

    Other cases we found:

    •an officer who faked she was sick when Hurricane Rita was bearing down on Houston.

    •an officer who tried to cash in on a Crime Stoppers reward for giving an anonymous tip on the whereabouts of a felony theft suspect.

    •a cop with so many disciplinary actions that HPD gave him a “last chance” to shape up.

    But five months later the officer had another mishap. The department’s decision? It gave the officer another chance, which it claimed “will allow him once again to be a productive member of the department.”

    All of this stuns Professor Kellar.

    “My problem is how many strikes do you get before you are out?” he said.

    Professor Kellar said if the oath is to protect and serve, “It’s public business how they conduct themselves. I think the pressure should remain on them.”


    http://www.khou.com/topstories/stori....4766294c.html
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    the link has a video.
    Personally I think this channel is jsut out to make an *** of cheif Hurtt, and HPD. the last week almost daily they have something smart to say.

    I bet if they had to be cops for a month or two, they would really shut up fast.
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

    Comment


    • #3
      Totally dramaticized, and full of blatant bias. The biggest deal was the DUI hit-and-run, and a 90-day suspension is a pretty decent punishment considering most jobs would do nothing at all to him.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well maybe I'm in the minority here but I do agree that HPD's civil service is way too powerful and protects officers who are lousy piece of crap! For God sakes, one officer committed FSRA and he is still on the force? What if that was your wife he slammed into when drunk, sent her to the hospital, and then went on about as nothing happened.
        Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat

        Comment


        • #5
          Would a crappy news reporter lose their job over a dui? NO! How about an assault? Probably not.
          Police officers are held to such a high standard that people think they should be fired for any infraction/violation of the law.
          To that reporter, walk a mile in a police officers shoes before judging them and putting them on PUBLIC TRIAL in front of a camera and microphone.
          POLICE OFFICERS ARE NOT PERFECT, BUT THEY ARE HUMAN!
          "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

          "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JSD73 View Post
            Well maybe I'm in the minority here but I do agree that HPD's civil service is way too powerful and protects officers who are lousy piece of crap! For God sakes, one officer committed FSRA and he is still on the force? What if that was your wife he slammed into when drunk, sent her to the hospital, and then went on about as nothing happened.
            I don't know what FSRA stands for, but I think anyone who injures someone while DUI deserves prison.

            But why should they lose their job due to an off-duty DUI? I think the two are completely unrelated. If I got arrested for DUI, I would take some Paid Time Off and my job would never even know about it. My personal life and my work life are separate. I do lots of things at home I would never even talk about at work (comedians, here is where you put the punch line).

            Comment


            • #7
              I have not made a mistake as the some of those officers on the broadcast but it helps I don’t drink.

              I don’t think some one should lose their livelihood for their mistakes off the job. No one else is held to that standard not even a judges or a president why should officers. Should they be punished "Yes" but not take their jobs away for a mistake. Now repeated actions after being corrected the punishment should be harsh.

              We are human, the badge is very heavy, and some do slip and fall but as any other person, society’s justice system should be fare to all. Going through life without making mistakes is very hard. "Try walking in another mans shoes"
              Last edited by AKA=Cruz; 05-09-2007, 09:29 AM.
              "An officer has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by texaschickeee View Post
                Personally I think this channel is jsut out to make an *** of cheif Hurtt, and HPD. the last week almost daily they have something smart to say.
                This station must be sister station to the CBS station in Kansas City. They go full blow at ALL the LE Agencies in the KCMO Metro area......

                Asshats....you would think there are more newsworthy events going on......

                Comment


                • #9
                  There was the comment about how tax payers should get their money's worth...... uh, okay - THEN PAY UP!

                  While I find it totally hypocritical for reporters to go into the private lives of officers "just for copy," I do also have a problem with some of those allegations. If true, some of those officers should not be ..... officers. We have the same problems here as well. An understaffed department with more than a couple who should have been given their walking papers a long time ago.

                  However, maybe WE should start paying a little more attention to REPORTER'S actions ......
                  Space for rent .........

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Oh god that's nothing compared to Vancouver Police. But then again, Vancouver Police have so much sh*t to deal with on a daily basis it's hard not to be corrupt. Hahahaha.....sigh....anyways....
                    Never argue with idiots - they just drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

                    Chaos, Panic and Disorder....my work here is done!

                    As her tears fell at his feet, she didn't say "I Love You," what she said meant even more: I laugh, I love, I hope, I tried. I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry and I know you do the same things too. So we're really not that different, me and you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Fëanor View Post
                      Totally dramaticized, and full of blatant bias. The biggest deal was the DUI hit-and-run, and a 90-day suspension is a pretty decent punishment considering most jobs would do nothing at all to him.
                      There was just one over at my city. The officer's licence has been suspended for a year so the department put him on desk duty. It's nice to know I have such an accomodating police department.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        90 day suspension= roughly $12,000 hit for hit and run.
                        That's more than most folks get...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In Calif, our disciplinary histories are lawfully protected by the Peace Officer's Bill of Rights (POBR). Unless the history has been entered into a court record, no one is entitled to it, since it's protected. The only thing the news can get ahold of legally is an arrest/conviction record, and only on an individual basis....none of this "Gimme all your officers records" crap. Commiefornia is good for something!

                          But now Chief Bratton is trying to get POBR overturned so he can release disciplinary cases to the media for political reasons. GAWD, I hope this doesn't happen!!!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fëanor View Post
                            I don't know what FSRA stands for, but I think anyone who injures someone while DUI deserves prison.

                            But why should they lose their job due to an off-duty DUI? I think the two are completely unrelated. If I got arrested for DUI, I would take some Paid Time Off and my job would never even know about it. My personal life and my work life are separate. I do lots of things at home I would never even talk about at work (comedians, here is where you put the punch line).
                            The problem is, it wasn't just a DUI/DWI, he or she was in an accident and left the scene, i.e., FSRA = FAIL TO STOP AND RENDER AID....which makes it a felony (Accident Involving Injury or Death). Now having worked in a county jail I've seen several hundreds of these people come in and out and many of them lose their jobs, families and savings. Now I'm not saying string the cop up and I know we have a hard enough job as it is, but if you as a LEO not only get behind the wheel after a long night of drinking but then run into someone and flee the scene you're showing me you have extremely poor judgement and as such may be a liability somewhere down the line. How about serving alcohol to a bunch of minors as a police officer...don't ever try and issue a citation for MIP or Minor Consuming or arrest someone for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor because you have no legal standing left IMO.

                            We are all human and we do make mistakes, and yes the public and media will hang us out to dry in a heartbeat but there are certain things that are within your control, such as drinking and driving, that we just shouldn't do. Don't put yourself in that position...I and other officers I've known have lost our jobs in the past for less than this.

                            Oh and CBS is just trying to keep up with ABC 13 as Wayne Dolcefino has a HUGE hard on for LEOs in the city of Houston. It is for ratings, but I'll be damned if some of this stuff just doesn't ruin our standings just a bit more.

                            I should also ask if any of these officers were convicted of these offenses and if they were I thought TCLEOSE would drop your license if convicted of a Class B misdemeanor or above. I might be wrong.
                            Last edited by JSD73; 05-08-2007, 04:34 PM.
                            Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TX Heat View Post
                              90 day suspension= roughly $12,000 hit for hit and run.
                              That's more than most folks get...
                              Wouldn't a DUI hit and run be a felony? answered...

                              Nearly EVERY application you ever fill out, even to work fast food asks, have you ever been convicted of a felony?

                              I think the reason people (non LE) make such a big deal is because comes down to integrity. If you exercise such poor judgment off duty, what can be expected of you on duty when you are given authority, a weapon, and the responsibility for safety of others (whether their grateful or not shouldn't matter). Committing crimes off duty compromises your integrity.

                              Someone asked if a sucky reporter would lose their job over a DUI, no they probably wouldn't. However, a sucky reporter does not have near the same responsibility a police officer does. Just my take.
                              Last edited by itnstalln; 05-08-2007, 05:48 PM.

                              Comment

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