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Two police officers will be suspended without pay following an investigation into allegations they issued excessive traffic tickets in retaliation for pension cuts.
Officer Christopher Beesley will serve a one-week suspension and Officer William Rothrock a two-week suspension after an internal- affairs investigation determined the number of traffic tickets they issued spiked following a Jan. 18 Town Council vote to slash pensions. In addition to his suspension, Beesley is relieved of his assignment on the Motorcycle Patrol Unit and transferred to the patrol unit.
The two suspensions follow the June 5th firing of OfficerWilliam Eaton forthesameoffense.
Both Beesley and Rothrock were back on patrol Wednesday after being out on paid leave since March 14 during the investigation.
PublicSafetyDirectorKirk Blouin said the dates they will serve their suspensions are still to be determined.
Blouin said the difference between Eaton and the other two officers is that Eaton was "the ringleader"who encouraged other officers to step up their ticket writing. Blouin said the sheer numbers that Eaton wrote — 115 citations in 16 days — was far and above any other officer.
"No one in the history of the department has come close to that," Blouin said. "It was clearly evident what [Eaton] was doing. During the course of the investigation, he would not take
Fla. officer fired for writing too many tickets any accountability for wrongdoing on his part and, instead, concocted a story to fit whatever defense he was going to present." Eaton's attorney, Elizabeth Parker, has said her client was unjustly fired.
As for Beesley and Rothrock, Blouin said they both had a similar amount of citations. The reason that Beesley received a one-week suspension and Rothrock two weeks is because Beesley also was penalized by being taken off motorcycle patrol, Blouin said. Motorcyle patrol comes with an added monthly stipend, plus the prestigeof being a partof a specialty unit,hesaid.
'Positive attitude' During the investigation, Beesley and Rothrock had "a very positive attitude," Blouin said.
"They were both open to the suggestion that if they're ever unclear as to their duties that they will seek out supervisory directions," Blouin said. "We had a very positive meeting with both officers, and we believe they will come back and be an asset to the police department and the community."
Beesley was hired on June 23, 2008, and earns $56,471 a year; while Rothrock was hired on Jan. 16, 2007, and makes $58,730, according to Kennie Wells, assistant director of human resources.
Sgt. Gino Silvestri's internal affairs reports on both officers concluded that they allowed their emotions about pension changes to improperly influence them regarding issuing traffic tickets.
Statistics from police records show Beesley wrote 250 citations from Jan. 1, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2012. He wrote no citations from Jan. 19, 2011 to Feb. 18, 2011. From Dec. 18, 2011 to Jan. 18, 2012, he wrote 39 citations. But in the month following the Town Council vote on pensions, Beesley wrote 84 citations.
Regarding Rothrock, police records show he wrote 105 citations from Jan. 1, 2011 to Jan. 1, 2012. From Jan. 19, 2011 to Feb. 18, 2011, he wrote five citations. From Dec. 18, 2011 to Jan. 18, 2012, Rothrock wrote nine citations. But in the month after the Town Council vote — Jan. 19 to Feb. 19, 2012 — he wrote 51 citations.
'Everyone is under scrutiny' According to the internal affairs report: Beesley swore under oath that his increase in citations was because "everyone is under scrutiny" and he wanted to make sure that when it comes time for his evaluation, he is "the best."
Beesley said he was asked by residents to monitor traffic in specific areas and was told by supervisors to conduct "selective enforcement," meaning targeting certain problem areas in town.
When asked about his increase in citations following the council vote, Beesley said it may be because he works nights and people can't see him while he's on the motorcycle. "They are doing things (infractions) in front of me non-stop," Beesley said.
In Rothrock's statement under oath, he said he had been told by a Sgt. Thomas Melnichok in December 2011 that his citation statistics were low and, according to Rothrock, the sergeant told him to make more traffic stops and write more tickets.
Melnichok, in a sworn statement, said he did point out that Rothrock's citations were lower than others, but he said all of Rothrock's work categories were lower than other officers. Melnichok said he told Rothrock to be more "well rounded."
Rothrock also said the reason for the increasein citations was his zone assignment. However, in Silvestri's report, he concluded that work days and assignments had "no relation to the spike in his citation activity."
Copyright 2012 Palm Beach Post
Where the hell does Palm Beach get off paying their officers like that. Jerks! Down with IUPA!!....... The sheriff gives us fair wages!!!!!
please insert my promotion here --------> promoted to : __________________________?
Are they accepting applications? I have been here for close to 10 years and barely make $46,000. Screw this place, I'm looking to get out and take my experience elsewhere.
10 posts • Page 1 of 1
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