Who made ‘Captain Todd’ the ‘Truthfulness God’ at Metro? How many careers has he been allowed to destroy because of his personal opinion, his personal morals, and his personal values about an officer’s conduct? Yes — if Captain Todd feels that he has lost confidence in your ability to supervise, if he expresses that he cannot trust an officer, or if he believes that conduct in question ‘brings the police department into public discredit,’ then he recommends termination and is then supported by the Metro Termination Machine (see below).
Captain Todd also gets to define VALUES (or at least use the word “integrity”) to his advantage. He can claim that an officer lacks character and integrity… he can convince the Preterm nation Board that an officer did not ‘demonstrate remorse’ and convince the Board that the officer was ‘not truly sorry’ and suggest that showing “no emotion, change in demeanor, tone of voice or inflection” is an indicator that an officer is bad. He can even get deep into off-duty and personal conduct (child care and custody and proper support and parenting) and judge an individual for how he carries on his relationship with the mother of his child.
When did the LVMPD start deciding on how we should get along with our family members or how our private relationships should be conducted? Why has nobody stopped him? If he wants to judge people, then he should go to law school and become a judge where he will be limited by the law on the books and where both sides will be adequately represented and where perjury is punished!
Where does this all come from? Fasulo has been involved in many recent terminations. I’ll explain one incident in this column. A police officer (WG) who once worked for me was recently fired after a Pre-Termination Hearing. What egregious misconduct brought this on? The short story is that he had an approved night off (vacation) and wanted to spend the night with friends instead of babysitting for the mother of his child. She is a Metro employee. While she was at work, she had the ability to check on whether he was at work—or not. If he was not working, they were supposed to be sharing babysitting duties. On the night in question (which lead to WG’s termination), his work ‘status’ did not show him to be working as a police officer at the Convention Center Area Command. The mother started to inquire about his whereabouts (she sent him a text message as I understand). In order to avoid having to explain why he was not at work, he made a bad decision; he called in on the phone and asked to be logged-in to show that he was at work. This ‘lie’ lasted for maybe an hour or two until he logged off, which would update the computer to show that he was no longer in service.
To put this in proper context, officers have input incorrect or inaccurate ‘status’ information on the mobile car computer for years (for various reasons). They may have intentionally failed to check out for coffee, not given their correct location, or may not have actually arrived at a location when they press their status button. They may even ‘clear’ when they are still at lunch (officers are given up to 60 minutes for lunch breaks). Nobody has ever been fired over this (and thousands of these incidents have never even been investigated). These are ‘technical’ violations and do involve the same false reporting or deception and they occur dozens of times every shift at Metro. Under normal circumstances, if a problem is detected, it is handled informally — by the first line supervisor.
The deception of WG was discovered by a supervisor who just happened to see that the officer was showing up (on the computer) in a police unit with his normal partner. As this was being investigated the officer was contacted and learned that his actions were now known to the department. During the overall investigation, the officer admitted that he had done this one other time several months prior. He admitted (told the truth about) what he had done and he knew that it was wrong. He was deceptive to the LVMPD, but had only intended to deceive the mother of his child. His decision to deceive her is NONE OF THE LVMPD’s business!
He had NO discipline for the six years he worked for the LVMPD. By the time Internal Affairs had done their investigation (which involved a significant omission — not even interviewing the mother of the child and taking no action against her for using department resources to check on the work status of a co-worker), this was blown up into a termination case. WG deserved to face corrective action. The LVMPD implements progressive corrective discipline… when they feel like it — but not in WG’s case. His head needed to be chopped off because that is how Captain Todd wanted this to be handled.
The LVMPD and their ‘hired gun’ (Attorney Nick Crosby) came up with all kinds of horrible descriptions of the officer’s conduct to support the termination and get the result they wanted — bluff the arbitrator! Of course, it is important for officer safety for everyone to know whether there is one officer in a police car or two officers. This was an important aspect of the case. But, the officer in the car clearly knew that he was ‘solo’ and if he needed assistance on any call (especially a dangerous call) he was fully trained to know that he needed to request backup. Officer WG did deserve to have corrective action taken because of his poor decision to make the phone calls to dispatch (two different times), but is this worthy of termination? He also did report incorrect information to dispatch and should have faced some level of discipline.
Does this bad decision in regard to a personal problem/domestic ‘issue’ (not domestic violence) mean that he is not trustworthy to go to court in the future? Does this decision make him no longer valuable to the LVMPD and support kicking him into the ‘trash pile’ of former Metro officers?
In order to aggravate the conduct to the level of a termination case, the LVMPD colluded and created all kinds of examples of what could have happened. They even said that if there had been a traffic accident and the emergency responders were not able to locate two officers they would have had to spend unnecessary time searching for the body of the missing officer! It is nice that they are so concerned about the welfare of their employees, isn’t it? I’m being sarcastic here, but I’m also trying to point to a serious inconsistency when I point out that if WG had been arrested for domestic violence, he would still have his job. If he had been arrested for DUI, he would still have his job. YES — many members of Metro have been arrested after being violent with their wives or significant others. Many have also been arrested for DUI incidents; in fact, some have been arrested multiple times and it is well known that the LVMPD and Captain Todd put one of these multiple offenders back to work. Does Captain Todd lose trust in officers who make the news for DUI’s and Domestic Violence arrests? Are they ‘tarnished’ because of their conduct? Are they no longer of any value to the LVMPD because they have brought the police department into public discredit? This is a classic phrase that we often see in these matters. But it only applies to some officers and not ‘special’ members of Metro, like wife-beating commanders and drunk drivers of all sizes and shapes. Remember, some are even allowed to apply for medical retirements… and live happily ever after.
Captain Todd currently works with (and has worked for) many others who have engaged in more egregious conduct who have not lost their jobs. He has also worked around others who had personal problems that have extended to work. He has worked with people who don’t rise to his high level of integrity (multiple marriages after messy divorces). Isn’t there likely to be ‘trust’ or ‘deception’ issues when a person is married 3, 4, 5, 6 (or more) times and still maintains their supervisory or even administrative position with the LVMPD?
Captain Todd has been allowed to impose his private ‘morals’ and the LVMPD “Values” statement into the equation. LVMPD employees are required to follow Rules & Regulations and to comply with the Policies & Procedures of the LVMPD… but when did bad decisions and conflicts in our personal lives allow Captain Todd to judge us? Not only does he judge us, but he condemns us because he holds the power to sway his own supervisors; investigators at Internal Affairs rubber stamp employees at Labor Relations and eventually paint people in the worst possible light — to support another ‘badge’ that he has taken from a good employee!
WG ended up being fired. He then took his case to an arbitrator (one who is apparently enthralled with Captain Todd). He lost his arbitration and has now pretty much been given a career death penalty. Why such a severe penalty? Because everyone that Captain Todd really wants to fire is charged with some form of a TRUTHFULNESS violation. He labeled it as ‘untruthful’ when WG called in to show his status was at work rather than having the headache of explaining that he was on a vacation night and didn’t want babysitting responsibilities. It is fairly easy to embellish and termination cases can be contrived (my termination is one example of this). The power of a sustained ‘truthfulness’ charge gives the LVMPD the ultimate sledgehammer. Ever since Sheriff Bill Young implemented the ‘You Lie – You Fly’ policy, there has been abundant room for subjectivity and, when nobody has the sense to consider what is really going on in these matters, the employee loses and the administration wins. Every member of the LVMPD has engaged in minor misconduct or violated some rule at one time in their career. It is virtually impossible to perform in the field and not make some bad decisions or errors — even when it is due to sleep deprivation or accidental violations.
Consider the language below in the final arbitration decision for WG. The summary of the written decision included a reference that WG’s chain of command (sergeant and lieutenant) supported the officer and trusted him to work with them in the future. They realized that corrective action was necessary but they did not believe he should lose his job. The arbitrator gave Captain Fasulo’s position more weight and wrote the following:
“The aspect adverse to the Grievant is the fact that his captain doesn’t trust him to go back out on the street as he believes he lacks honesty. It is noted that the Grievant has maintained his deceit and deception to his girlfriend…This impacts upon the issue of character and integrity which is precisely the issue which Fasulo was concerned [about] and upon which he based his recommendation to terminate Grievant.” Grievant testified that he has had ‘trust issues’ with his girlfriend so he lied to her and lied to the Department to deceive her. Fasulo had trust issues with Grievant and was apprehensive of what Grievant would do if he wanted to deceive the Department on some future occasion. He was concerned about Grievant’s integrity in challenging situations, a very different issue than his ability as a police officer. It is concluded that it would not be appropriate to overturn that judgment … The Grivance is denied and the termination of Grievant is sustained.”
The Metro Termination Machine wins again because of the collusion of certain investigators at Internal Affairs, the bureaucrats at Labor Relations and Metro ‘Legal,’ and their labor attorney (who the sheriff regularly praises for presenting cases and ending careers. Captain Todd has a huge advantage. He benefits from use of the half-billion dollar budget of the LVMPD and is apparently given freedom to target officers and issue their career ‘death penalty.’ He even gets away with speculatingthat an officer might do something bad in the future and the arbitrator is insane enough to put this language in the written decision. Maybe we should start calling these ‘speculation terminations’? Yes — it is indeed possible that a court proceeding could take place where discipline would be revealed to a defense attorney. Yes, it could be possible that in a career an officer will violate rules and policies and possibly even get involved in serious misconduct. But do we fire them now for something that has not yet even occurred?
The ‘target’ of the Machine is at a huge disadvantage — especially when the union (PPA or PMSA) decides that they will not aggressively fight the case and take it to the courts. The unions (also known as employee associations for collective bargaining) once recruited new members by the promise to provide an attorney to officers who find themselves in trouble. The reality these days is that they may or may not support an officer (often depending on whether the officer is ‘special’ in one way or another). So why would anyone pay nearly $1,000 per year in dues when the return on this investment is so uncertain?
And who made the ‘deal’ to set the maximum discipline (short of demotion or termination) at a mere 40 hours? The range of options of corrective action that could be used to address misconduct or errors is now extremely limited. An officer might get a 40-hour suspension for a drunk driving arrest and then stay out of trouble for many years. Then, the officer might fail to properly handle evidence (i.e., forget an important item in the trunk of his police car at the end of the shift.) This ‘mistake’ could result in a termination because the officer already has a 40-hour suspension. There is more to this mess known as the “Disciplinary Matrix,” but the point being made here is that individual officers could conclude that their best interests have been SOLD OUT by agreements between the unions and the Sheriff!
Yes, Captain Todd is so good at this that he was recently named a deputy chief. It is very difficult for me to use that title in the same sentence with Todd Fasulo because he has abused his rank to target his own employees. The reward of a promotion to an even higher rank is troublesome…even with the role that Captain Todd played (related to the Hans Walters tragedy) he still gets promoted? The Whitewash report from the HPD has skipped over the contents of the apparent suicide note, records that should have been obtained and reviewed from Walters’ office, computers, phone, etc. Even more importantly, Lt. Hans Walters kept detailed notes in the steno notebooks that he maintained. There were supposedly 11 of them located when the ARMOR Unit broke into his desk/locker for whatever reason. Did they really think that Lt. Hans Walters had created a danger or was willing to do damage to someone at work? If so, just how much rage may he have had due to ‘work’ problems and how come the end of the story (so they think) comes with the release of a 911 audio from the day of the event and nothing more than an Incident Log—certainly not a professional report on a double-murder and suicide by a police lieutenant with over 20 years of service to the LVMPD and his community!
Yes, the Lt. Hans Walters family and METRO tragedy is connected to some of the terminations of LVMPD employees under the last two commanders at the Convention Center Area Command. It does not look like anything will change with the ‘morals police’ and the ‘selective enforcement’ of Metro rules and policies. Cops working under these conditions should be very cautious and tread lightly. I’d suggest that they start practicing their golf game because that seems to be the best way to get ahead and get ‘connected’ to the current power structure and be a valuable member of the Gillespie regime.
What has happened to the LVMPD and when will it end?