Thomas Correa worked for the San Jose Police Department for twenty-seven years. He is now suing the Department. According to him, the police have a bad attitude toward work and money.
Correa claims, the SJPD is overrun with “time sheet fraud.” He was forced to take early retirement because he refused to participate in these customary practices. He charges that he “was branded a ‘snitch’ and even physically assaulted by his supervisor, Sgt. Kimberly Hudson.”
“According to the lawsuit, Correa alleges that timesheet abuse was particularly bad in the Police Department’s airport division, where Correa says officers expected to spend approximately every other Wednesday having a ‘free day.’ … Correa alleges that ‘one day a week, two teams show up for work — double staffed…Meaning every other Wednesday a team would have the expectation of doing absolutely nothing.’ This would mean that officers assigned to the airport spent Wednesdays exercising, taking long dinner breaks in the city, going to movies, and going home early, among other things, according to the lawsuit. ‘Instead of taking action to discipline those accused of time-card fraud, the City decided instead to (figuratively) “shoot the messenger,”’ the suit says.”
All this is denied by the police men who still work for the SJPD. Sgt. Jason Dwyer said of the fraud, “We don’t tolerate it.”
Yet last week, a police officer was arrested and on “suspicion of grand theft” due to time sheet fraud, following a nine-month investigation.
This is not merely the story of one city that may have a corrupt Police Department. What is going on in San Jose may be related to the UK student protests we have seen—protests over cuts in tuition aid. It is also similar to the motives behind the Greek riots over. Correa claims, “Many police officers feel justified in committing such fraud because of the City Council’s attempt to reduce wages and benefits. Many officers view this fraud as a way of making things ‘even,’”
This is exactly the attitude one finds in many other areas of the country. Public unions of all sorts are putting immense financial pressure on cities and states. But when governments try to get their spending closer to reality, the unions protest wildly. They don’t want to hear about what the people can or cannot afford. They want to get all the goodies they can or else they believe they are being mistreated.
Of course, the police in San Jose deny the charges made by Correa. The City Attorney’s office promises to “aggressively defend” the police department. The response, made so early in this process, can only raise suspicions. One would think the city might want to aggressively investigate all the allegations and see if they are true or not, rather than just assume that they are all lies and then work to shield the Police Department from any real accountability. Basically, the city has chosen to fight against a “whistle blower.”
In the meantime, we see news reports almost every week about how some town’s or city’s or even state’s budget is in trouble due to an inability to cover expenses. They cannot continue to engage in deficit spending. Public unions with their amazing pension plans are often a big part of the problem.
They need an attitude adjustment. We all do.