Odessa police chief Tim Burton described recent behavior within the Odessa Police Department “sad” and “disappointing.”
The comments come after Local 2/Fox 24 uncovered details on an Odessa police officer’s recent resignation following an internal investigation that showed he violated at least 17 codes of conduct, according to police records.
Sgt. Jesse Garcia resigned from the department shortly after being placed on administrative leave during an internal investigation, according to the 122-page report. The report states Garcia violated policies such as truthfulness, confidentiality and excessive use of alcohol while on duty.
Odessa police chief Timothy Burton declined to discuss Garcia’s case specifically, but he did share his reaction any time cases of this nature arise within the department.
“It’s always difficult when you have to face the fact that some behavior has occurred that’s of such a nature that it requires discipline,” Burton says.
The internal investigation reveals that Garcia lied about details surrounding an undercover operation at a local bar. The report states that during that time of the supposed undercover operation, Garcia was shown on surveillance video buying $120 worth of drinks with a CBS 7 reporter. Hours later, around 2 a.m., Garcia is shown entering the back door of the police department with that same reporter. Even later that same evening, the report states Garcia drove the reporter around in his patrol unit. The bar tab, the visit to the police station and the ride in the patrol car were all unauthorized, according to the internal investigation.
“When you don’t tell the truth, you compromise yourself in your profession beyond the point of redemption,” Burton says.
Burton also added that the policy violations in Garcia’s cases would usually lead to termination.
“I don’t know if there is a need to know that the policy violation occurred. I think that there’s a need to know that the police department monitors and responds to alleged violations, takes them seriously and acts upon it.”
No one involved in the internal investigation has been criminally charged with any crime.