Sheriff fires four Pinellas County deputies for 'extreme loafing' while on the clock

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired four law enforcement officers after they were found to have shirked their duties while on the clock.  One said he watched a movie while on duty.  Two others were suspended.

Claiming they intentionally hid from supervisors, Gualtieri fired three deputies and one sergeant for failure to work during their assigned shifts.

An investigation revealed that the deputies responded to calls if dispatched, but did not initiate any law enforcement action for hours at a time.

They concealed their cruisers, disconnected the GPS, and left assigned areas in order to go home, visit family, or idle in other locations. One even watched a movie while working.

"These deputies ... 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," said Guiltieri.  "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."

Two other deputies received suspensions.

The following are the names of the terminated deputies and the Sergeant, along with a summary of their charges:

Terminated:
Deputy Kenneth L. Burroughs
Hired: 10/1/96
Age: 42
Idling and loafing during July 1 - December 31 amounted to 172 instances, for a total of 285 hours, or 35 eight-hour work days of inactivity. At his base pay rate - $27.3934 per hour - that amounts to $7,807.11 the taxpayers lost.

Deputy Robert G. Harmer
Hired: 6/10/90
Age: 42
Idling and loafing time totaled 180 instances, amounting to over 251 hours, or 31 eight-hour work days of inactivity on the job. The taxpayers lost $7,853.48, based on the base pay of $31.2888 per hour.

Deputy Samuel Mitchem
Hired: 5/2/94
Age: 42
Idling and loafing time totaled 212 instances, amounting to over 314 hours, or 39 eight-hour work days. The taxpayers lost $9, 002.34 based on his base pay of
$28.6699 per hour.

Sergeant Christopher W. Metro
Hire: 1/13/91
Age: 43
Failure to supervise squad members (including Burroughs and Mitchem), neglecting supervisory responsibilities, failure to use available technology and other tools to monitor staff activities, leaving his area of assignment and idling, going to personal residence, 10 instances in all of idling of at least one hour each, having knowledge of the deputies' idling and failure to act. Admitted to watching a movie while on duty.


Suspensions:

Deputy Brian T. Clark
Hired:  4/27/98
Age: 40
Suspended for 1 day for lack of self initiated activity, about 4 instances of idling.

Robert J. Wojciechowski
Hired: 12/1/86
Age: 46
2 day suspension - Lack of self initiated activity, failure to have GPS repaired, about 4 instances of idling.

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