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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fellow Cops Asking Why Training Officer is Still on Job

Police officer caught photographing exam still on force
Fox 4 by Mike Mason - January 3, 2012
Sergeant used iPhone to photograph exam

FORT MYERS, FL - He's taken a vow to serve with honor but a Fort Myers police Sergeant caught photographing an exam seems to be getting away with it. Now some of his fellow officers want to know why! Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason finding out why this Sergeant is still on the job and in charge of training other officers! We have the internal affairs investigation tonight and fellow officers are outraged.The sergeant who trains them and serves as their role model is caught taking a picture of exam materials but some say he only got a slap on the wrist. Police officers are held to a higher standard. So when word got out that Fort Myers police Sergeant Roger Valdivia photographed his Lieutenant's exam against policy, many officers were outraged. Investigators found when the test was given out last September, Valdivia brought in his iPhone during the process where candidates can contest the grading of the exam and snapped pictures of the testing materials, which violates the department and testing policy. While Valdivia's actions did not affect his score on that test, some fellow officers were concerned he could have had an unfair advantage on subsequent tests. However, the department says that is not the case because the test is changed each time. When questioned, Valdivia told investigators quote: "It's a smart phone, I use it for everything. Uh, obviously I wasn't smart enough to make a good decision, so I apologize." Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason spoke with the Director of the police training academy, Tim Day. Mike asked, "Why is integrity so important when you're a police officer?” Day replied, “I just think the public wants to be able to trust their law enforcement people." One of Tim Day’s duties at the training academy includes testing potential police recruits. "Well certainly that would be a problem. I judge things by what we do here at the academy, that would be removal from the academy on the examination," said Day. Valdivia works at the police training center five days a week training existing Fort Myers police officers and now some of them feel he is not setting a very good example. Day wouldn't comment specifically about this case but officers we spoke with say Valdivia should have been fired. At the very least he shouldn’t be allowed to continue training officers. We wanted to speak with Chief Doug Baker but instead he released a statement saying in part, "We will not be participating in interviews to avoid any further embarrassment to the employee involved." Valdivia says he deleted the photos of the exam. He received written counseling and will not be considered for a promotion to Lieutenant this year or next.

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