The Associated Press
WACO, Texas (AP) - Five police officers were fired and four others left a Texas police department over allegations that they got paid for working as private security guards while on duty.
Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman said he recently closed his department's internal investigation into a double-dipping scandal that entangled 10 officers. Nine officers aregone, including four who retired or resigned, and one was temporarily suspended.
Criminal charges could come from an ongoing joint investigation by the department, FBI and the U.S. attorney's office, Stroman said.
Some officers are accused of filling out timecards for their Waco Housing Authority security jobs and for their on-duty police work that showed they were in two places at once. Some cases go back more than two years, according to records obtained by the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Two were accused of playing golf numerous times while they were signed in at their police department jobs, Stroman said.
"The way that we have looked at this is that those are governmental documents, and if they are not completed accurately, then it is a criminal violation," Stroman said Wednesday.
John Cullar, an attorney for two officers, has called the allegations "ludicrous" and said any irregularities were simply faulty bookkeeping. He said because officers filled out their Housing Authority timecards once a month, they sometime forgot their exact hours and had to go back and find often-inaccurate schedules.
The five officers who were fired - or indefinitely suspended, under civil service rules - are appealing and will seek hearings before an independent arbitrator, said Gary Johnson, the city's human resources and civil service director.
Stroman said the investigation began in January when a supervisor got a report that some of the 14 officers providing off-duty security at three Waco Housing Authority complexes were getting paid for working two jobs at once. The authority owns and operates public housing in the Central Texas city.
He declined to say if the other four of the 14 officers received disciplinary action.
Stroman said he has since amended the department's off-duty work policies, which now require officers to provide copies of their outside work schedules and notify a police dispatcher when they arrive at their off-duty jobs.
Officers will only be allowed to work at an outside job for one year and must make another request to continue.
Stroman said he also ended an unwritten policy in which supervisors could reward officers with off-the-books time off for a variety of reasons.
Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, http://www.wacotrib.com