The Austin Chronicle

Time for a Suspension

APD tackles officers' time management problems

By Chase Hoffberger, December 11, 2015, News

Someone over at APD may want to think about outfitting their officers with some new watches. It's been a slow season with regard to the department's official discipline, with only four suspensions processed since the beginning of October, but three of the four have been for issues relating to officers' problems with time management.

Two came in mid-October: On Oct. 12, nine-year veteran Darin Wesley received an indefinite suspension (civil-service for firing) for tampering with his schedule and resubmitting a rejected overtime request (that Chief Art Acevedo noted was also factually inaccurate), and lying about needing to take off for impending home repairs, so that he could receive overtime compensation for a court appearance. Four days later, 11-year vet Trissey Padro began 20 days on the shelf after juking an April/May timesheet to increase her overtime, and heading off to Vegas for a few days without getting permission from a supervisor.

News of the latest suspension came last Tuesday, Dec. 1. It details a 60-day leave for Nathaniel Roberts, a sergeant who's been with the department since 2000. Rob­erts was scheduled to work a secondary employment gig with Cap Metro on June 6, assigned to supervise five individuals from 2:30pm to 1:30am the following morning. But he ended up clocking in for the shift at 11am. Pressed by Internal Affairs on the 3.5-hour early check-in, Roberts blamed an "inaccurate watch."

Doubling down on the timesheet, Roberts proceeded to head home at 8pm (to eat at home in an effort to save money, he said) and do some housework as he was readying to put his home on the market. He told IA that he lost track of time and missed the 1:30am clock-out – not realizing his mistake until a lieutenant called to ask about his whereabouts. He ended up punching out for real at 3am. Cap Metro management had not approved the additional 1.5 hours (or the 3.5 beforehand).

In addition to the 60 days, Roberts also accepted a voluntary demotion from sergeant to corporal (he can reapply for sergeant two years after the suspension's complete) and is barred from working secondary employment outside of department overtime for 12 months after returning to work. Ace­ved­o also notes that Roberts will agree to a one-year probationary period, and "waive any claims he may have against the City or its employees related to the investigation, suspension, and voluntary demotion, including but not limited to claims under Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act], the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act], or the FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act]."

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