Local News

Record-Keeping May Thwart Probe Of Off-Duty Police Work

Posted September 28, 2006 9:02 a.m. EDT

— As the Wake County prosecutors review allegations of double-dipping by Raleigh police officers, some people say sloppy record-keeping might prevent any criminal charges from being filed.

The Raleigh Police Department launched an internal probe this summer after allegations surfaced during an audit that revealed some officers might be getting paid to work off-duty jobs when they were supposed to be on duty for the department.

The department has turned its findings over to District Attorney Colon Willoughby, who said he wants to take his time to make sure the criminal investigation is done properly. His investigators have spent nearly a month poring through pages of records, and they still have more people to interview, he said.

But John Midgette, executive director of the Police Benevolent Association, said the confusing time sheets used by the police department also are likely slowing the investigation.

"I assume that what the district attorney is having a problem with is that they're getting all of this record information. But since it's not accurate, how can they show whether there was a direct intent to cause a problem or that this is a mess?," Midgette said.

In a letter sent Wednesday to Police Chief Jane Perlov, the PBA focused on the way the department keeps time records. The organization said an officer's time sheet may show he was working on the city clock when he or she actually had permission to use compensatory time to work an off-duty job.

"They are not reflective of what actually happened," Midgette said.

A retired, high-ranking Raleigh officer agreed that record-keeping will make it difficult to file charges against anyone in the case.

"I would be afraid to charge anybody because the time-keeping system is so shabby. It could very well be the person thought they were in the book to be off when they weren't," said the officer, who asked to remain anonymous.

Police department officials said they wouldn't comment until the investigation is complete.