Merit Board Recommends Suspension, Not Termination
8:32 AM, Mar 5, 2010
An Indianapolis police officer accused of stealing cash from suspect will be allowed to keep his job, despite objections from the department.Officer Bobby Jefferson was suspended in August 2009 after he was accused of stealing more than $500 from a man he stopped on Indianapolis' west side, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.Police said the man, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant for battery, was carrying $4,200 when he was pulled over.Jefferson wrote up two reports on the incident -- one claiming he took $3,700 from the suspect and put it in the property room and a second saying he confiscated $4,200.Then-Chief Michael Spears recommended to the Indianapolis Civilian Police Merit Board that Jefferson be fired, a suggestion echoed by newly appointed Chief Paul Ciesielski and the local Fraternal Order of Police union."No one on the police department wants to work next to someone that has character flaws like that, and we are proud of the fact that we police our own," said FOP President Marion County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Bill Owensby.The merit board found Jefferson guilty of nine of 10 departmental rules violations, but four of the six members voted to spare his job."The majority of the board came to the conclusion that we did not want to fire this guy. We wanted to give him an opportunity to salvage his career," said member Joe Slash.The board recommended Jefferson serve a six-month suspension without pay instead. Ciesielski has yet to make his recommendation.No criminal charges were ever filed in the case. The man who lodged the original complaint against Jefferson was deported to Mexico.