Report details St. Johns County sergeant's arrest
Sgt. accused of falsifying time card
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A report into the criminal investigation of a now former St. Johns County sergeant details what led to his arrest.
Sgt. Monroe West was arrested Thursday on two counts of organized schemes to defraud and a public servant falsifying official documents following a months-long investigation into accusations he was paid to work on duty and off duty simultaneously.
According to the report, West had been "falsifying his time card to receive payment for days worked that he knew he did not work" for three years.
"You're in uniform working a shift, you're responsible if you're out being paid by taxpayers," Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "You can't go to a private company looking to hire a deputy and also sign up for that at the same time. That's what we found was occurring."
Deputies and sergeants are assigned to certain zones across the county. When patrolling those zones for the sheriff's office, they are officially being paid taxpayer money. They're allowed to patrol for other companies on their time off and get paid by those companies, but they can't be doing both at the same time.
The criminal investigation report says that's exactly what West was doing on and off for the last three years.
The report also shows one of West's shift leaders during that time heard rumors about what West was doing and that "it was a running joke among the squad." The shift leader also said he often "wondered why West seemed to be monitoring the radio when he was off duty."
The report says the total loss from employee theft was a little less than $6,000.
"I believe he was fairly well-liked by -- we have 500 full-time employees here; for the most part people had respect for him," Mulligan said. "This is about an action that allegedly taken facts that were found out from a criminal investigation."
Every squad car has a GPS tracking device. The criminal investigation report says there were rumors that West's subordinates would watch his movements on GPS, but Mulligan said the GPS is to track patrol cars closest to emergency situations, not to keep track of employees.
"We have to have trust in those individuals in this position," Mulligan said. "They're deputy sheriffs. They're law enforcement officers. We hold them to a higher standard. It's difficult to say, 'Listen, this is the protocol and this is the standard you need to be living at,' and at the same time, 'We're tracking your every movement while you're at work to determine where you are.'"
Mulligan also said the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission of Florida will decide whether West will ever be able to serve as a law enforcement officer again and what will happen with his benefits.
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