Fired for Trying to Score Freebies
APD chief says lying will get you nowhere
By Jordan Smith,
8:24AM, Fri. May 31, 2013
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo on May 29 terminated Officer Frank Corpus who Acevedo says lied about his off-duty employment at a local movie theater in order to score free tickets.
According to a disciplinary memo, while off-duty on Oct. 21, Corpus walked up to the Westgate Theater ticket booth, showed his official police identification card and asked whether police officers would be given free or reduced-price tickets. A manager in the booth asked if Corpus worked off-duty at the theater; Corpus allegedly said yes. Neither the manager nor another worker in the booth recognized him so they called APD Officer Lonnie Radabaugh, who holds the contract for off-duty work at the theater; Corpus did not work there, Radabaugh told them. Corpus allegedly tried to cover the fib by saying later that he had previously worked off duty at the theater. That wasn't true either, Acevedo wrote in the memo. Indeed, Corpus admitted as much to Internal Affairs – to whom the incident was reported by Radabaugh – but said he wasn't deliberately trying to mislead the theater employees in order to get free tickets. Rather, he said that when he was asked if he worked at the theater he said he told the employees that he worked at APD – not at the theater. But that contradicts what the two employees told IA, Acevedo wrote.
Acevedo said he decided an indefinite suspension (the civil service equivalent of termination) was appropriate in part because of the "potential criminal character of Officer Corpus' actions" but also because he lied repeatedly to the theater employees. "Officer Corpus, having been found to be dishonest, can no longer be a credible witness for the prosecution of criminal cases, and therefore can no longer serve the citizens of Austin as a police officer."
Corpus was previously given a one-day suspension, in May 2011, for putting in for four hours of overtime instead of seeking a continuance for a municipal court date that coincided with an approved vacation day, as he was instructed to do by his supervisor.
Corpus can appeal the termination to the Civil Service Commission or for review by an independent arbitrator.