Imagine watching a movie, visiting family or going home while on the clock Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired three deputies and one sergeant and suspended two more deputies for doing just that.
During their work shifts, a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office investigation found the deputies intentionally concealed their cruisers, disconnected their agency-required GPS and left their assigned posts.
The Sheriff's Office is describing their actions as "extreme loafing and idling" and "excessive inactivity."
The deputies did respond to calls if dispatched, but they did not initiate law enforcement activities for hours at a time, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The six-month investigation found the deputies actions cost taxpayers more than $24,600. Excessive inactivity was documented when a deputy did not work for more than one hour, according to the sheriff's office.
"We believe our findings are a snapshot of what was going on for a longer period of time. This is behavior that will not be tolerated, and they are being held accountable," Gualtieri said.
Three deputies and one sergeant were terminated:
- Deputy Kenneth L. Burroughs, 42, was found idling and loafing 172 times for a total of 285 hours over a six-month period, according to the sheriff's office.
- Deputy Robert G. Harmer, 42, was found idling and loafing 180 times for more than 251 hours, according to the sheriff's office.
- Deputy Samuel Mitchem, 42 was found idling and loafing 212 times for more than 314 hours, according to the sheriff's office.
- Sgt. Christopher W. Metro, 43, was found idling and loafing ten times for at least one hour each time, according to the sheriff's office. He also apparently failed to use technology tools available to supervise Burroughs and Mitchem, according to the sheriff's office.
"These deputies by their intentional actions essentially cheated the taxpayers out of well over $24,600 during the time of the investigation - which was from July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011," Gualtieri said. ""Although public safety is always our first consideration, the taxpayers of Pinellas County deserve to know that their tax dollars, which are our salaries, are earned by each of us every day through the provision of effective law enforcement services."
Two deputies were suspended for instances of idling. Deputy Robert J. Wojciechowski, 46, was suspended for two days for about four instances of idling as well as failing to have a GPS repaired. Deputy Brian T. Clark, 40, was suspended for one day for about four instances of idling, according to the sheriff's office.