DPD case referred to state bureau

The case of Durham Police employee Alesha Robinson-Taylor has now been transferred to the State Bureau of Investigation for further examination.

Robinson-Taylor, formerly a secondary coordinate coordinator at the Durham Police Department, was terminated in September 2009 due to excessive overtime pay.

Jennifer Canada, Assistant Public Information Officer for the N.C. Department of Justice confirmed that the transfer took place at the request of Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline. SBI officials declined to comment on the progress of the ongoing case.

Robinson-Taylor claimed 1,837 overtime hours and earned $62,583 in overtime pay between September 2008 and August 2009.

DPD, which faced heavy criticism as a result of the scandal, has begun to take precautionary measures to avoid future overtime complications. Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield said the police department is re-evaluating its practices administering and assessing the outside employment oversight process.

“That is meant to assure that the oversteps don’t happen again,” Bonfield said.

In response to the audit released by Durham’s Audit Services Department, the police force has recently begun to take preventative measures, according to a Sept. 28 memo from DPD Chief Jose Lopez to Germaine Brewington, Durham audit services director.

“Beginning on Nov. 1, 2009, the Police Department will monitor, on a quarterly basis, nonexempt employees’ compensatory time to ensure that sworn personnel are not accumulating in excess of 480 hours and non-sworn personnel in excess of 240 hours and that all such time is appropriately documented,” Lopez wrote in the memo.

He noted that DPD will create guidelines for its payroll department’s Standard Operating Procedures by Oct. 30 so its employees are provided with clear procedures for reporting overtime and any irregularities, “regardless of signature authority.”

Despite the new employment evaluations, the police force is doing little to rebuild any level of damaged trust within the Durham community.

“While we recognize that there was some negative impact on the public’s trust [of DPD], there aren’t specific actions being taken [to improve it],” Bonfield said. “It’s more of an ongoing process—it’s about doing the right thing.”


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