WRAL Investigates

SBI to investigate Durham police overtime case

Posted October 2, 2009 10:04 a.m. EDT
Updated October 2, 2009 2:45 p.m. EDT

— The State Bureau of Investigation will try to determine whether the payment of about $60,000 in overtime to a Durham police officer over the past year involved any criminal activity.

A released Wednesday found that Durham's deputy police chief approved most of the overtime paid to Alesha Robinson-Taylor and that Chief Jose Lopez dismissed concerns about the excessive overtime when managers raised the issue with him in April.

A review of Durham Police Department payroll records by WRAL News shows Alesha Robinson-Taylor was paid $59,545 from last October through July. The overtime was more than her $52,665 annual salary.

WRAL News reviewed overtime records for the rest of the police department and found no similar cases in recent months.

Auditors determined that time sheets, phone records and e-mail logs couldn't substantiate the amount of overtime Robinson-Taylor accrued.

City Manager Tom Bonfield turned the audit findings over to the Durham County District Attorney's Office, and prosecutors called in the SBI for an independent review.

Robinson-Taylor, who has worked for the police department for 12 years, coordinates off-duty jobs for officers, handles alcohol permits and schedules towing services.

She is on administrative leave with pay, and officials have declined to comment on possible disciplinary actions she might face, citing personnel privacy laws. The audit notes that her duties have been split among other officers.

Deputy Chief B.J. Council has filed her retirement notice, effective Dec. 31. She plans to begin using her accrued leave next week, he said.

Bonfield said the city would seek reimbursement of about $40,000 to $45,000 from Robinson-Taylor.