9 officers suspended over dismissed cases
Nine officers with the Monroe Police Department will be suspended for five days without pay.
The suspensions are related to the 39 cases the district attorney’s office threw out in early September because they did not have enough evidence to take the cases to trial. None of the dismissed cases resulted in anyone being released from jail, and many of the cases were drug-related or fraud cases.
Detective Rick Garcia, hired Aug. 18, 2003; Detective Nick Brummer, hired Nov. 30, 2006; Detective Glen Jenkins, hired Jan. 17, 2005; Detective Daniel Stroud, hired May 21, 2005; Patrol Office Josie Lodder, hired Nov. 17, 2008; Patrol Officer Don Elkins, hired Aug. 28, 2000; Detective Renee Hower, hired Sept. 10, 2005; Patrol Officer Travis Furr, hired May 1, 2006; and Officer Darren Nash, hired Nov. 17, 2008, were suspended.
Pete Hovanec, Monroe communications and tourism officer, said the suspensions will be staggered over the next two or three weeks. He said there will be no interruption of service, and the force will not be short-handed because of the suspension.
After the cases were dismissed, an investigation began to determine the officers responsible and how to correct the problem.
“The bulk of the dismissed cases were directly attributable to these individuals,” Hovanec said.
Hovanec said the investigation is continuing primarily to see if there are any other individuals responsible, perhaps supervisors. He said they were possibly looking at some time next week for additional names if there are any.
The five-day suspension is the maximum penalty they could administer without termination, Hovanec said.
“It’s pretty severe,” he said.
Hovanec said they wanted to make sure the officers knew how severe this was and to fix the problem so it will not happen again.
After the cases were dismissed, new procedures were implemented to correct the oversight.
Interim Police Chief Bryan Gilliard said some of the new procedures have already been put in place and enacted. He anticipates a new liaison from the department to the District Attorney’s Office will be set up next week.
Gilliard said they made mistakes, have fixed them and will move on.
“We have great men and women that are police officers in the Monroe Police Department,” Gilliard said. “We’re going to continue to work hard to do our jobs with professionalism and dignity.”
Gilliard said he ensured the public they will work hard for them every day.
“There are some good men and women (in the department),” Gilliard said.
The department has about 90 sworn-in officers and 16 non-sworn positions, according to the department’s website.