Fort Wayne Officer At Risk Of Termination Because Of Troubled Work Record

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 13, 2010 at 5:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne police officer Scott Morales has a long history of disciplinary problems on the department, but that career could come to an end, under a new case going to the Fort Wayne Board of Public Safety.

Chief Rusty York is asking the civilian board for a significant suspension, up to dismissal from the force.

York says he's worried about what he believes is a pattern of conduct that is getting worse over time.

In 1996, Morales got 90 days without pay for being caught on security camera stealing an item from a business.

Recently he's had four significant problem episodes.

Among them, suspensions for improper conduct in a theft investigation, excessive force for “tasing” a detainee, and leaving his weapon unmonitored at a police desk, while he left the room for ten minutes.

Then in February of this year, he allegedly mistreated a prisoner transported to a hospital.

According to York, it’s something at least four hospital employees and surveillance camera video supported.

York concedes officers like Morales often thrive in certain jobs or environments.

Chief Rusty York/Fort Wayne Police Department: " In others, they can't cope as well. Unfortunately, the job description of a police officer requires you to do certain things that span that whole spectrum."

We contacted the lawyer representing Morales, but he declined comment for this story.

There is a tendency to question how an officer whose work record includes 23 substantiated allegations of misconduct could have kept his job this long.

Chief York says it used to be the department would allow an officer who’d gotten in trouble to earn a clean slate, if he avoided problems for an extended period of time.

York says policy changed around the year 2000, and that a number of Morales’ more worrisome episodes have come recently, one after the other.

He has a hearing before the board of safety May 3rd.

We should know in early June if they clear him, support a lengthy suspension or opt for termination.

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