30 Houston police officers in trouble over “double-dipping” http://www.privateofficer.com
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More than 30 Houston police officers face suspension or a departmental reprimand after an internal affairs investigation concluded that they worked at part-time jobs while still on the clock for the city.
The Houston Police Officers’ Union said the punishment handed down by HPD amounted to an overreaction to long-standing — if unofficial — patrol officer practices.
“They wanted to fire six or seven of those people. We ended up getting into a mediation (with HPD) and negotiating most of those deals out,” said HPOU President Gary Blankinship.
Patrol officers generally arrive at work 15 to 20 minutes early so they can sign for their cars and pick up any special equipment they might need. That way, HPOU officials said, the officer can respond to an incident when the shift begins.
The patrol officers generally return to the station a few minutes early so they can turn in paperwork and equipment. Blankinship said the focus of the yearlong inquiry seemed to be on those officers who made the handover quickly and went to their part-time jobs while still technically on the city’s payroll.
“The majority of these cases were under 30 minutes,” Blankinship said.
At least one of the officers often worked extra hours on a narcotics assignment when there was no overtime money in the budget, Blankinship said.
Capt. Dwayne Ready, the Houston Police Department’s former public spokesman, was suspended for using his work computer to send e-mail about his private security business, Blankinship said.
The department forwarded the results of the investigation to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
“They declined any charges on anybody. No criminal activity occurred,” Blankinship said.
Police officials were not immediately available to comment on the investigation.
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Houston Tx. Nov. 7 2007
A former Houston police officer whose private security firm armed illegal immigrants to work as security guards was sentenced to more than three years in prison Monday.
David Rodriguez, 39, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to violate various federal laws as the owner and operator of Bayou City Patrol Division.
Rodriguez, his father and Bayou City were charged in July 2006 with falsifying forms to allow illegal immigrants to carry guns and obtain state security licenses. The company employed about 50 guards, mainly for apartment buildings and bars in west Houston.
In May, Bayou City was convicted and sentenced to one year probation. The shuttered company has surrendered its security commission and firearms, Assistant U.S. Attorney Abran “Abe” Martinez said.
Rodriguez, a 13-year HPD veteran, admitted lying on federal forms to buy handguns. In his guilty plea, Rodriguez said he sold the firearms, without a license, to Bayou City’s illegal workers. From December 2000 through December 2005, Rodriguez hired people who fraudulently acquired security guard commissions from the state by using false social security numbers and biographical data.
Three weeks ago, Rodriguez asked U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore to throw out his guilty plea. She refused. In the request, he insisted that his plea was entered “under false impressions” and that he was “out of it” and “did not understand the consequences.”
Defense lawyers Shelly M. Davis and Jonathan H. Cox prevailed in getting Rodriguez a shorter sentence than prosecutors wanted.
“I think the judge was fair,” Davis said.
Martinez, who had asked Gilmore to add at least another year, also said the sentence was fair.
Rodriguez, who eventually resigned from the police department, was not immediately taken into custody. Gilmore allowed him to remain free on bond pending a court order to surrender to federal prison.
Martinez said he intends to drop all 15 charges against Rodriguez’s father, Manuel Rodriguez, whose trial was scheduled for next week
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Houston TX. Oct. 30, 2007
A man suspected of shooting a Houston police officer while he was being arrested was found dead in a field Sunday, KPRC Local 2 reported.
Police said Officer Victor Hill, who was not in uniform, arrested Eric Titov, 22, on suspicion of breaking into cars at the complex in the 18600 block of South Park View Drive near West Park View Drive at about 12:30 a.m.
Investigators said Titov, who was handcuffed, pulled out a gun and shot Hill in the chest.
Hill called for backup and was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition.
Titov ran from the scene, detectives said. He was found dead in a field on Barker Cypress Road near Saums Road on Sunday afternoon. Police have not said how he died.
Titov had several credit cards and driver’s licenses that did not belong to him, detectives said. Hill has been with the Houston Police Department for 14 years.
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