A Houston police officer handed another man a speeding ticket and probably didn’t realize that the offender he was citing was also a cop. What this ticket-receiving officer noticed on his paper slip though has led to a department-wide investigation.
“I immediately [knew] that something’s hinky with the ticket,” the man KHOU-TV only identified as Jerry said. “There was no other officer, he was the only officer there.”
The ticket, however, listed another officer as an additional witness.
KHOU launched an investigation into Jerry’s claims and uncovered an alleged “ticket-rigging scheme,” where cops listed on tickets who were not actually present at the time of the offense were cashing in on overtime when they appeared in court later.
The Houston Police Department is conducting its own internal investigation into the issue, putting three officers — Gregory Rosa, Robert Manzanales and John Garcia — on desk jobs during this time.
KHOU reported that a fourth officer identified as Rudolph Farias, who was also being investigated, committed suicide earlier this week in a police parking garage. The 51-year-old was on the force for 21 years and, according to KHOU, made $158,000 in overtime within the past three years. How much of that could be due to falsely reported tickets is unknown at this time.
WHY POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND THEIR OFFICERS SHOULD BE ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE WHEN POWER IS ABUSED
We look to our police officers for safety, security and community. We tell our children to “look for a police officer” if they are lost. We donate to help the families of officers killed in the line of duty. We need our police force, and we need good officers to protect and serve us, so we, as a society of reasonable people, grant them powers which are above and beyond the average citizen. We arm them with guns, we train them, we arm them with tasers. We trust them.