Crime

Fort Worth officer keeps job, gets ‘last-chance agreement’

A Fort Worth police officer accused of napping while on duty, failing to make a police report on vandalism, and lying and using his position to try to get backstage while intoxicated at a Dallas concert will keep his job in a “last-chance agreement” with the chief.

Christopher Ramirez received a 16-day suspension instead of termination and promised not to violate any other department rules or laws for 18 months. If Police Chief Rhonda Robertson determines that Ramirez has committed a violation during that period, he will be fired, the agreement says.

Ramirez, who has been with the department since 2005 and is the brother of Deputy Chief Charles Ramirez, did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

Because the deputy chief is not in his brother’s chain of command, he was not involved in the recommendation of discipline.

The discipline, which took effect Feb. 26, follows three separate investigations.

In a disciplinary letter filed with the Civil Service Commission and signed by Robertson, the chief says she decided to combine the three acts into one disciplinary measure “because they are close in time and are further indicative of Officer Ramirez’s lack of dedication to his duties and position as a police officer.”

In the first incident, on Sept. 6, Ramirez was accused of being intoxicated while off-duty at a concert at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas.

According to the allegations:

Ramirez flashed his badge and commission card to gain access to the backstage area after the concert. He flashed them again after two security officers stopped him just outside one of the dressing areas, then fabricated a story about a drug deal and about being on a narcotics task force.

Believing that Ramirez was intoxicated, security personnel escorted him out but spotted him trying to go backstage again through a different way. Ramirez ran from the scene after security personnel flagged down an off-duty Dallas officer.

“This act brought enough concern to the security guards that he interacted with to the point where they reported the misconduct to the department which cast our department in a negative light,” the letter says.

On Sept 25, Ramirez initiated a radar detail, indicating that he would be looking for speeders at Old Decatur Road and Northwest Loop 820.

His sergeant became suspicious because Ramirez had initiated a 90-minute radar detail the week before that yielded no citations and tried to find Ramirez by GPS. After a 45-minute search, the sergeant found Ramirez’s patrol car with its lights off, backed against a gate on a dirt road that led to an old quarry.

Ramirez was found sleeping behind the wheel.

“Officer Ramirez admitted during the administrative investigation that he had fallen asleep while on duty,” the letter says.

In the last incident, on Nov. 1, Ramirez and his partner were dispatched to a criminal-mischief call. A witness informed them that an intoxicated female had vandalized property in front of the Lazy J Store at 2405 N. Main St. The officers found the female responsible for the damage, checked her for warrants, then released her.

The officers mentioned in call notes that the suspect would contact the owner and cleared the call without making a report. Because Ramirez did not make a report, the store owner had to call police the next day to make one and was further irritated when a detective assigned to the case was unaware of the suspect’s identity because of the lack of a report.

In the “last-chance agreement,” Robertson says the chain of command at the deputy chief level recommended an 18-day suspension for Ramirez — five days for allegedly being intoxicated while off-duty; eight days for neglect of duty and failure to observe policies and procedures; and five days for neglect of duty and failure to make a police report.

An assistant chief, she wrote, recommended termination for the three combined cases, “citing that he is very doubtful that a 15-day suspension would correct Officer Ramirez’s behavior,” the letter says.

Robertson wrote that she agreed to the 16-day suspension and 18 months of probation “in a last chance effort to attempt to rehabilitate and correct these, as well as your previous performance problems.”

According to a statement released Tuesday by Cpl. Tracey Knight, a police spokeswoman, “A Last Chance Agreement is a new tool for the Police Department; however, the city of Fort Worth has used them in the past. A Last Chance Agreement is a mechanism for conveying the Chief’s expectations of improved work performance.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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