LouisianaVoice has learned of new developments in the ongoing saga of the State Police Internal Affairs investigation at Troop D.
We first learned that Troop D Commander Capt. Chris Guillory has filed an appeal of an undetermined disciplinary action for unknown actions. We now know what that discipline was as well as what the alleged infraction was, and it substantiates what we wrote about back in August.
It was also brought to our attention that certain retired state troopers are no longer welcome at meetings of affiliate members of the Louisiana State Troopers Association (LSTA), especially those retirees who might question the wisdom of the LSTA’s making campaign contributions to political candidates.
Pursuant to a public records request made to the State Police Commission which hears all disciplinary appeals by state troopers, we learned that Guillory has retained Baton Rouge attorney Jill Craft to handle his appeal. That appeal is scheduled to be heard on Feb. 11. (Belated editor’s note: our public records request to the State Police Commission was for appeal records for Chris Ivey, Ryan Roberts, Ronald Picou and Brett McCloud. Our records on the Chris Guillory appeal were obtained through separate but confidential sources.)
The letter of reprimand was signed by Lt. Col. Charles Dupuy who serves as Assistant Superintendent of State Police under Superintendent Mike Edmonson.
Here is Dupuy’s letter (click on images to enlarge):
In his letter, Dupuy referred to allegations first addressed by LouisianaVoice that Trooper Jimmy Rogers was allowed to work LACE overtime and off-duty escort details—all “while serving a disciplinary action in the form of a reduction in pay which spanned from December 27, 2010, to February 5, 2012.”
LACE, which stands for Local Area Compensated Enforcement Program, is a program by which state troopers are paid by local jurisdictions for extra traffic enforcement (read: quotas).
Rogers was disciplined by letter of Nov. 19, 2010, by Edmonson to a 240-hour reduction in pay (a 10 percent reduction for 30 pay periods, or 60 weeks. That represented a total penalty of more than $4,800 but LouisianaVoice said in August that there was speculation that he more than made up for that reduction by being allowed to work overtime on LACE and off-duty escorts of oversized loads.
“A review of his (Rogers’s) biweekly timesheets confirmed that Trooper Rogers worked LACE overtime and off-duty escorts/details while serving the reduction in pay,” Dupuy said in his letter of November 13. “An Internal Affairs investigation was conducted to determine why he was allowed to work overtime.
“On September 22, 2010, you were promoted to the rank of captain to serve as commander of Troop D. As the Captain of Troop D, on November 29, 2010, you personally delivered the above described disciplinary letter to Trooper Jimmy Rogers and had knowledge of the reduction in pay imposed on him,” Dupuy wrote.
Dupuy said that from January 6, 2011, to August 9, 2011, “Trooper Rogers worked 16 LACE overtime details in violation of (policy) in effect at that time. From January 16, 2012, to January 26, 2012, Trooper Rogers worked four off-duty escorts.”
Guillory told Internal Affairs investigators he was unaware of the policy, according to Dupuy’s letter, and that he failed to inform Rogers’s immediate supervisor that Rogers was serving a disciplinary action.
That, said Dupuy, placed Guillory in violation of the State Police Procedure Order which constituted unsatisfactory performance, which says in part:
- A commissioned officer shall maintain a competency level sufficient to properly perform his duties and assume the responsibilities of his position.
Craft, in her Nov. 24 letter, put the State Police Commission on notice of appeal. Here is her letter:
She said in that letter that Guillory’s reprimand “is not warranted,” based not on his violation of procedures, but on a couple of technicalities.
She said that during the time period in question, LSP issued several paychecks to Rogers. “At no time did LSP take any timely action regarding its payment to Trooper Rogers of the overtime pay. Indeed, not until over 4 years later did the agency acknowledge any error on its part.”
Craft also said LSP did not impose its discipline within the prescribed 60-day time limit from the beginning of its investigation to announcement of the punishment. LSP can request an extension of time, however, and one source said it was believed that such extension was requested in a timely manner.
“The investigation began on August 12, 2015, and…October 20, 2015, was the deadline for the imposition of disciplinary action,” she wrote. Pursuant to state statute, she said, the disciplinary action imposed on November 13 “is untimely and thus null and void as a matter of law.”
In another matter, it would appear the LSTA hierarchy are beginning to circle the wagons in defense of growing criticism from within over the board’s recently revealed campaign contributions. An attempt was made by LSTA incoming President James “Jay” O’Quinn to turn retired state trooper Carl Bennett away from a meeting of LSTA affiliate Troop L on Monday night in Mandeville.
“I was there a whole two minutes when Jay O’Quinn asked me to step outside and informed me the meeting was for dues paying members and I wasn’t a member and had to leave,” Bennett said. “I told him that I was there to find out some information about this back dues business to re-join and that I intended to act as a guest and not participate in the discussion or the meeting. He told me I had to leave anyway. I made it clear to him that I…had to go there (to the meeting) because our retiree representative doesn’t respond to us. Retiree David Brabham then stood up and told the whole bunch of them that if I had to leave, he was leaving, too but (that) they hadn’t heard the last from him.”
Bennett said “It sort of hurts to be ejected from the Troop building that you spent the biggest part of your life in—especially when the ones who didn’t want me there were either not even born or toddlers when I was a trooper there.”
Retired trooper Jerry Patrick said he was an affiliate president for six years “and I never turned a retiree away.”