Thursday, September 20, 2012

HPD cops stay on force after bilking city for nearly $1 million in overtime scheme

In a story out today titled "Four suspended HPD officers used ticket scheme to earn overtime pay," the Houston Chronicle reported:
Four veteran Houston police officers who collected nearly $1 million in overtime pay combined since 2008 were recently suspended for listing one another as witnesses on traffic tickets to help themselves get overtime for testifying in court, according to records obtained Wednesday.

From 2008 to the present, the four officers who specialize in writing tickets together were paid $943,000 in overtime, city payroll records show.

The punishments handed down Sept. 4 by Police Chief Charles McClelland range from 20 to 45 days off without pay, concluding a lengthy investigation by HPD internal affairs triggered by tickets issued in April 2011.
My question, unanswered in the story: Were they required to pay back the unearned overtime? If not, why not? Given how much money they took in through this scheme, these unpaid vacations amount to a slap on the wrist, at best.

Further, according to the Chronicle, "In one stop, an officer drove himself to the city jail where a suspect had already been taken, but listed himself as a witness to one traffic violation he did not observe, his disciplinary record noted." So where are the criminal charges for falsifying a government document, or perhaps even fraud?

A Chronicle commenter pointed out that, "Anybody else steals even one tenth that amount of money gets a lengthy jail sentence and is labeled a thief and felon for life." Another argued that, "If this happened in the private sector these guys would've been canned, had to repay the money, and possibly face fraud charges." Those seem like fair criticisms to me.


Unknown said...

This is not exactly on topic but, while Houston police are defrauding tax payers, police in a city close to Houston, (La Porte Texas), have made the national news with the wrongful arrest of a mother for child endangerment. She was arrested and taken to jail, (where she had to send the night), after a neighbor, (who had a grudge against her), phoned police and complained she was endangering her children. It seems she allowed her children to ride their scooters in front of their home on a cul de sac
while she sat in a chair on the sidewalk and supervised them.
This was yesterday and she has already filed suit against the city and appeared for an interview on national news. The city of La Porte needs to get out front of this and apologise to this women and set this right ASAP. They also need to apologise to the citizens of the State of Texas for making it appear to the rest of country as if we are not capable of making a common sense judgment of the simplest kind. This looks like La Porte is a police state and maybe it is.

Anonymous said...

20-45 days off, for close to 1/4 of a million dollars? Where do i sign up?

Lee said...

Scott, to think the police would be treated fairly and justly is so nieve, its almost cute.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Lee, I'm sure the union president Ray Hunt considers this treatment "fair and just." Indeed, his comments at the end of the Chronicle story imply he probably thinks the punishments are excessive. How "cute" is that?

Anonymous said...

So will these cops still be in a position to testify in court? Will they be placed on a Brady List? Will that list be given to the DA and will the DA then share that information with defense attorney's? Will the DA keep this information mum while defendants plead in cases that depend on the credibility of these officers? The stink could gag a maggot.

Anonymous said...

With scum like president Ray Hunt running a corrupt police union, no wonder criminal cops go running to him. Give Ray Hunt what he wants a "BJ," and he will take care of you as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about La Port or La Grange but one thing I definately know about, is the that there has 'always' been coruption & cover-ups in both the Houston Police Department & the Harris County Sheriff's Office. It got so bad that the later changed its name from Department to Office.

*Sadly, the vast majority of Good ones either don't speak up about crime (condone it) or they simply participate in it (join a uniformed gang), making the job
harder for all.

As always, this is a taxpayer & voter created problem that affects everyone from tourists' to regular ol Joes' and Houston deserves what they allow and condone as a whole.

The 'people' have a long history of squinting at blue and brown crimes as they allow them to police themselves. There won't be any protesting it and demanding in mass that: cadetes be properly vetted, rookies and veterens alike be fired for engaging in organized crime & re-payment in full. They will write it off and let insurance cover it and no one's gonna bitch & moan about insurance fraud.

There will be those that defend them all and attack anyone that writes and comments about it, as we witnessed the APD do from parkinglots. This will go away in less than a week like it never even happened and Houstoinians won't give a rat's ass because it's not a racial thang. So suck it H-town.

Anonymous said...

Before the drunken former ADA / DA or whatever climbs up everyones leg and calls everyone "tree & thug huggin criminal lovers", or tells us to: "join the police force in order to see how tough the job is before you call foul", or attempts to defend his homeys, I'd like to let him / her / it know that it didn't work in past and never will.

No - one loves criminals, not even criminals. This isn't a haven for criminals. Criminals don't utilize their day reading this Blog and defend other criminals. To imply it is just goofy. Criminals are comprised of those that comitt & those that condone certain crimes. Strangely, former & active DAs, ADAs & the suspended troll in efforts to be the first to defend, accuse & speak out the side of their necks.

When they attempt it, it's our duty to either ignore every word or set 'em straight with facts, which only invites more of the same when replies are sugar coated.

Anonymous said...

I must point out to everyone that once again the reason for this behavior is because the Harris county district attorney refuses to do her damn job.

Pat Lykos could pursue these cases and put these thiefs on trial, but as an ex-cop herself, she refuses.

When she was a judge she refused to sentence cops to prison even when plead guilty to such horrific crimes as child molestation:

Anonymous said...

They should be in prison. Right along with the crooked Shelby County DA and the rest of the crooked cops who participated in her 'highway robbery' scheme on Hwy 59.

texas defensive driving said...

This is funny. They should be really investigating for this matter. Lacking with techniques huh. Just not good for the officers. I find it really shameful.