A former police sergeant who was demoted in March and suspended for 30 days had that suspension reduced Thursday by a review panel composed of other city officials.
The panel — composed of Assistant City Attorney Joe Childers, Economic and Community Development Department Director Donald Sampson and Mtizi Ruth of the Inspection Department — cut 10 days off the suspension that was given to Officer Robert Treadwell by Police Chief Brenda Davis-Jones. But the panel ruled the demotion of an officer who was on probation because of a recent promotion was outside the review authority.
The panel also instructed Treadwell to complete a course on evidence handling.
Treadwell, who has been with the department for almost 16 years, was still within his six-month probation period after being promoted to sergeant, and according to him, he had less that 48 hours remaining on probation when he was disciplined by Davis-Jones.
He had been accused of using profanity in front of other officers, failing to turn in evidence and failing to arrest a wanted person.
Regarding the use of profanity, Treadwell, who was a patrol supervisor on night shift, admitted using the word “ass,” when he told patrolmen under his supervision, “if you get out there and get hurt, I’m going to kick your ass.”
Davis-Jones said two officers complained about that statement, with one of them “feeling threatened.
“Every officer that works for me knows I take officer safety personally,” Treadwell said. “My intent with that statement was for them to keep officer safety in the front of their heads.”
On the charge of failing to arrest a wanted person, Treadwell said “there was no one there to arrest,” and said the investigation by the department Office of Professional Standards confirmed that.
He said that incident dealt with a domestic battery call he had gone on where both the mother and father were to be arrested, and there was a 2-year-old child who was sitting in a vehicle waiting on a relative to come pick them up.
“The first person who got there gave me a name that was not hers, and when ran that name, were told there was a warrant,” Treadwell said. “My concern was for that 2-year old child.”
Treadwell said the child’s grandmothers arrived at the scene, and the first woman pulled paperwork out of her purse showing that she had just been released from jail after being arrested on warrants.
“There were no active warrants for her,” Treadwell said.
While not going into detail, Treadwell also said during the review hearing that the disciplinary action by Davis-Jones was “retaliation,” which Davis-Jones denied.
“This had nothing to do with retaliation,” Davis-Jones said. “I don’t do those things.”
The chief also said Assistant Chief Ivan Whitfield and the three deputy chiefs agreed with the disciplinary action, with two of them recommending termination, a third recommending a 30-day suspension and the last a 30-day suspension and reduction in rank from sergeant to patrolman.
Both Ruth and Childers said those recommendations were not included in the packet of information they received from the city’s Human Resources Department on the case.
“This was not a personal vendetta,” Davis-Jones said. “We have to hold our supervisors to a higher level.”
The review panel was created to replace the Civil Service Commission which was eliminated by the city council summer 2011.