Lawmen confront personnel situations

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Three men faced police work issues in recent weeks as: one lost his job because of an accidental gunshot wound; another is suspended for misconduct; and the third had to retire.

Lewisburg Police Officer Doug Alexander was suspended for 30 days without pay for "untruthfulness" during an investigation revealing his "harassment" of a department administrative assistant who complained to Chief Chuck Forbis, public records show.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Gregory Wade Levi "shot himself in the foot" on Dec. 27, 2010, according to a report signed by Chief Deputy Billy Lamb. Levi is now unemployed, understanding Sheriff Norman Dalton has no job open for a man who's restricted by doctor's orders to light duty.

Former Police Sgt. Barry Hargrove retired Sept. 9, City Treasurer Donna Park said Monday. Hargrove failed to qualify with a firearm last summer after remedial training and new eyeglasses, public records show.

Police Administrative Assistant Darlene Robertson complained on Sept. 25 to Forbis that she was being harassed and stalked by Alexander, the chief's investigation shows. Alexander watched for her at her part-time job in Shelbyville and, at another time, recorded their conversation, contrary to department policy.

Alexander had been in a personal relationship with Robertson, she said, according to public records.

"It was clear to me that an affair did occur," Forbs said. Alexander "continued to deny it and never would take responsibility for his actions."

Alexander has said repeatedly he will not make statements to the press here.

Records show Alexander claimed he'd been helping Robertson financially and when he sought repayment she made allegations in response.

He's been on paid administrative leave and then sick leave through October and the first week of this month when on Nov. 8 he was suspended for 30 workdays without pay, public records show.

Alexander is a former police chief here. Robertson was his secretary. After conflict recorded during city council meetings, Alexander returned to work as a school resource officer at Lewisburg Middle School until the position was abolished and he was reassigned to street patrol.

Robertson did not want Alexander fired, Forbis said. Asked why he didn't fire Alexander, Forbis replied the punishment was "about as severe as it can be without" dismissal, and suspension is "in keeping with my belief in progressive punishment."

Alexander is to return to work Jan. 8, on the night shift to separate him from Robertson, Forbis said. "That is the sole reason for his transfer."

Meanwhile, Levi explains his accidental shooting happened when he thought his Glock brand service pistol was properly seated in a new holster. It wasn't. It fell. A point of a triangular display case for an American flag went between the trigger and trigger guard, resulting in discharge of the weapon in a freak accident.

Glocks have a safety latch built into the trigger. Levi said the gun's trigger broke when it fell on the wood frame.

Levi's had a part-time job mowing lawns. While recovering, he hired men to mow. When Gallagher Bassett Services, Kansas City, Mo., the business managing work-related injuries for the county, stopped paying his living costs, Levi's doctor cleared him for light duty, including operation of his lever-operated riding mower for living expenses, Levi said.

Gallagher Bassett Services wants reimbursement of $9,500, Levi said. He's not paid, claiming he was due payment during his recovery period.

"This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for my job," he said.

Other lawmen consulted about Glocks said police should keep a bullet in the firing chamber to be ready and they know guns are inherently dangerous. Civilians should pull the gun's slide to chamber a round just before shooting. Levi says he knows other lawmen who've dropped a Glock. Some shot. One put a bullet through a boot and the floor.

"I understand the county's position" that there's been no light duty job opening, said Levi who's been looking for work for months.

He's 51 and worked 24 years in law enforcement, the last 14 for the county.

Hargrove retired with 30 years of service.