Ex-Lieutenant Pleads Guilty In Raleigh Police Double-Dipping Case
Posted November 16, 2006 8:46 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — A former Raleigh police officer pleaded guilty to three counts of larceny Thursday in connection with an investigation stemming from Raleigh officers working off-duty jobs while they were still on patrol.
Two of the charges against former Lt. Charles Bryant stemmed from overlapping off-duty jobs at Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek and the Carolina Country Club. One count stemmed from working at the BTI Center when he should have been working for the city.
Bryant was sentenced to one year of probation, 51 hours of community service and was ordered to pay nearly $1,700 in restitution and court costs.
Bryant, who has 25 years of service, was suspended Nov. 1 after months of investigation by the Raleigh Police Department and the Wake County District Attorney's Office. He resigned last week just months before what could have been his actual retirement date.
"I have been here for 27½ years, straight out of college," Bryant said Thursday after his guilty plea. "Police work is all I've ever known."
Bryant also said the situation has been tough for his family, but that after years of working long hours, his resignation has allowed him to reconnect with them.
"If there's one good thing that's come out of this, it is that I didn't lose this family," he said. "I didn't lose my wife, and I didn't lose my children. And if we have to be made the example of, if we have to make the sacrifice, I'm willing to do that."
In May, a routine internal police department audit of work records since January 2005 showed 104 officers compiled 150 violations, almost half of which involved working more than 14 combined hours a day on- and off-duty.
The department turned six cases over to district attorney's office for review. Bryant and one other former officer, Sgt. David Murphy, were charged. Murphy retired on Aug. 1 after 27 years of police service.
The investigation has prompted criticism by some who claim too much blame was put on the officers and not enough on the department. Bryant's attorney, Bob Hensley, said Thursday he believes that Bryant was unfairly targeted.
"The (police) chief can't take responsibility for it, the city manager can't take responsibility for it, so, a sacrificial lamb has to be found," Henlsey said. "That is Charlie Bryant."
Neither City Manager Russell Allen nor the Raleigh Police Department would comment.
About 600 of the department's estimated 730 sworn officers are authorized to work two jobs. A city ordinance even requires that certain businesses use uniformed security, and most of those businesses use off-duty police officers.
Officers have been able to set their own work schedules after receiving approval from the department to work the off-duty jobs.
All 104 officers involved in the investigation could face internal discipline. The measures could include verbal counseling, written counseling forms, written reprimands and loss of off-duty work privileges, officials have said.