Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

February 28, 2014

Ford suspended for violating code of ethics

By JAMES BROWN
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Glasgow police officer Joseph Ford improperly reported his location and was not in his assigned patrol area early on the morning of Jan. 27, leading to his suspension this week from the Glasgow Police Department, according to documents obtained Friday by the Daily Times through an open records request.

Ford was suspended without pay for five working days and will return to work March 4, according to a press release issued Wednesday evening by GPD. Police Chief Guy Turcotte found that Ford violated the department’s code of ethics after conducting an internal affairs investigation, according to the release.

The investigation stemmed from allegations that Ford misrepresented his location and was not in his assigned area at approximately 1 a.m. Jan. 27, according to an internal affairs investigation document obtained through the open records request.

The Daily Times requested the investigation documents Thursday afternoon and received them from the city Friday morning.

One of the documents, a 48-hour notice of action to Ford from Turcotte dated Feb. 24, says Ford on Jan. 27 allegedly left his assigned patrol area in north Glasgow without receiving permission from his duty supervisor. While outside his patrol area, he was at a residence on Parkview Drive in south Glasgow for more than an hour.

During that time, GPD dispatch conducted two status and location checks. For one of the checks, the investigation document says, Ford responded 10-4 but did not give a location. On the other check, Ford responded 10-4 [OK] on status and gave his location as West Main Street.

“You knew at that time you gave your location you were making a false statement,” the investigation document says.

Turcotte confronted Ford after Ford exited a residence on Parkview Drive and asked him what he was doing and why he was not in his assigned area, according to the investigation document. Ford told Turcotte he was visiting a friend.

The two returned to police headquarters, where, according to the investigation document, Ford admitted he had not requested “Signal 5” nor permission to leave his post.

In Ford’s administrative report dated Jan. 27 regarding the incident, which is listed as improper status check location, “ … during a 0100 hour status check I was not on my assigned sector and was on the south side, and had not asked Sergeant (Jarrod) Steele permission to cross over. Chief Turcotte was out during this time and saw where I was at. Chief Turcotte contacted dispatch and asked them to request my location during the status check and I advised that I was on West Main Street, and my actual location was on Parkview Drive.”

Initially upon receiving the 48-hour notice of the investigation on Feb. 24 and a document explaining his right to challenge the chief’s findings and suggested punishment, Ford signed to retain his right to challenge, but he rescinded the following day, according to a note signed by Turcotte at the top of the employee rights document.

In the records obtained by the Daily Times are two employee disciplinary notices for Ford. The first regarding the Jan. 27 incident that states the officer violated code of ethics policy 101.0, had conduct unbecoming an officer and violated department personal conduct and ethical conduct policies. The form also states the corrective action of five days suspended without pay and that Ford must take a training class titled “Leadership is a Behavior.” The notice was signed by Ford, Turcotte and Glasgow Mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman on Feb. 25.

The second disciplinary notice was in regard to an alleged act of insubordination on Feb. 24. The notice states Ford disobeyed “a lawful order given by a commanding officer.”

The notice was signed by both the mayor and the chief on Feb. 25, but in the employee signature field it reads “REFUSED TO SIGN” and is dated Feb. 25.

A handwritten note at the bottom of the form states, “Employee refused to sign,” beside which are the signature of Turcotte and the initials of Trautman. There is also a note that the second disciplinary notice is in connection with the internal affairs investigation into Ford regarding the Jan. 27 incident.

The top sheet in the packet of documents related to Ford’s suspension is a personnel status form. It says the officer’s suspension is from Feb. 25 to March 4. The form was signed by Turcotte on Feb. 26, Trautman on Feb. 27 and has a handwritten note at the bottom stating the mayor was present the night of the suspension. There is no employee signature on the status form.

Ford declined to comment on the suspension Thursday, saying he’s “not allowed to talk to the media unless it is approved.”

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