Gun It, Chief!
APD acting-Chief Cathy Ellison is under investigation by APD's Internal Affairs to determine whether she violated department policy by leaving her gun inside a city vehicle when she dropped it off for repairs late last year, says Assistant City Manager Rudy Garza. Ellison reportedly dropped off her city-owned Ford Taurus to fleet services on Dec. 1, asking that the brakes be checked; when she called to check on the car, she was told it had been taken to a Ford dealership for repairs. Ellison then reportedly complained (allegedly, rudely) that she hadn't been advised that the car would need to be transported elsewhere and that she needed to retrieve her duty weapon and other personal items. A maintenance employee reportedly retrieved the gun, which was stored overnight until former Assistant Chief Rudy Landeros came to retrieve it in the morning. Ellison's failure to keep her weapon secured was first brought to the department's attention during the course of an unrelated personnel issue being handled by the city's Human Resources Department, Garza said. HR forwarded the information to APD's IA detectives, who in turn informed then-Chief Stan Knee. Without the benefit of an IA investigation, however, Knee handled the case by issuing Ellison an oral reprimand, Garza said. The issue resurfaced last week after fleet-services employee Melvin Schulze filed a complaint with the office of the police monitor, asking that the Citizen Review Panel consider the case. As a result, Garza said that he and City Manager Toby Futrell are now asking IA to take up the matter and complete a full investigation of the incident. (If IA finds a violation of policy, Ellison could face oral or written reprimand, but would escape other discipline since the alleged incident happened more than six months ago, the civil service deadline for meting out any further reprimand, including days off.) Garza said that, based on what he knows about the case, he does not anticipate IA will find any further violations of policy, but the request for IA review was made in the interest of consistency.