WFAA 8 ABC, wfaa.com
BYLINE: JOBIN PANICKER,
CELINA -- He was the Celina Police Department's Officer of the Year in 2010. He was interim chief, but then demoted to patrol.
Now, he’s out of a job.
The Celina Police Department fired Officer Paul Jones last week for allegedly stealing $526 from an evidence locker. However, Jones has yet not been charged with theft.
There was an internal investigation into the missing cash, according to documents News 8 obtained.
The money was seized during an arrest that occurred in February of 2012. The suspect of that arrest pleaded in a letter to city officials for that money back, but the money was gone.
Jones was given two polygraph tests, during which he denied taking the money. The first test found his answers “inconclusive,” but the second determined he was "untruthful."
“If the allegations are true, then it's theft by public servant — which is a Class A misdemeanor — which is the highest level misdemeanor," said legal expert Pete Schulte. "In the extreme, it's tampering with evidence.”
"It is our concern that he stole the money knowing that the suspect was deported and would never be able to claim it,” wrote Celina Police Chief Mark Medtker in an e-mail to Bill Parker of Behavioral Measures and Forensic Services, SW Inc., the company that issued the polygraph test.
“If there are criminal charges they need to be brought -- we don't brush criminal allegations under the carpet," Schulte said. "They need to be held accountable, like anyone else."
The Texas Rangers were notified about the incident, but when News 8 asked a Rangers' spokesperson for more details, we were told everything was being handled by Celina police. When News 8 asked the city manager and police chief whether criminal charges would be brought against Jones, both said Jones violated departmental policies and said to contact the city attorney, who hasn’t responded to our inquiries yet.
Schulte said there needs to be an investigation by another agency -- especially now that there is a possibility that Jones may have tainted other cases.
“They're really going to have to go back and investigate if there are any other instances where this could have occurred," he said. "Is there any evidence that could have been tampered with?”
Jones also faces two other violations: Prohibited Use of Patrol and Department Vehicles and Parking.
The police chief and city manager were limited in what they could say about the case because of an upcoming appeal by Jones and his lawyer.
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