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Documents obtained from the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards & Training clearly indicate that ABC Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet made multiple violations of Ark. Code Annotated § 5-53-103 on documents he signed and that were submitted to them and other state agencies beginning back in 2000 continuing through the present time.

Hamlet listed on his Arkansas State Police documents that he had been employed for two years by the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Department of Public Safety when he in fact only actually worked for less than one month and only received one paycheck from them (Hamlet's UAPB employment verification).

Apparently Hamlet did not want to disclose that he had been employed and fired for grievous misconduct by the Arkansas State Police (ASP - see previous post) and he provided false information about his actual employment dates at the Arkansas Department of Community Correction (DCC) to hide his ASP employment and termination on his application for employment with the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney's Office.  Hamlet indicated that he had been employed as a probation officer by DCC from January 2000 through January 2007. (Hamlet's application for employment with 20th Judicial District). Hamlet actually worked for DCC from July 6, 2004 through July 31, 2007. 

Hamlet provided conflicting information not only about his dates of employment on his CLEST/ALETA and other documents but his training as well. Some documents indicate that he completed a basic police training course while others indicate that he had not. One thing is very clear, Hamlet's only certification is as a Parole/Probation Officer.  

That is a specialized certification and he would have to be employed as a probation officer by DCC or a court to act in that capacity.  So when Hamlet was employed by the 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney's Office and was issued firearms and a Faulkner County Sheriff's Office vehicle, he was not certified as a law enforcement officer and had no authority to carry a weapon (an earlier post related how a county issued handgun was stolen from his police vehicle parked at his residence).  Apparently Hamlet has a weapon at the DFA building at which he works and carries one on his person or in his agency issued vehicle.

Training records indicate that Hamlet has had some handgun training and done some firearms qualification since he has been employed as ABC Enforcement Director.

Hamlet was appointed and serves at the pleasure of the Director of the Department of Finance & Administration as stated in Ark. Code Annotated § 3-2-203.

A.C.A. § 3-2-203, does not specify that the ABC Enforcement Director must be a certified law enforcement officer, but a reasonable person would believe that this position would require that the individual that is appointed would at least be a certified law enforcement officer.  After all, the Enforcement Agents are all certified law enforcement officers and a majority of them have many years of actual law enforcement experience as police officers.

The DFA administrator could appoint Hamlet as an "institutional officer" pursuant to A.C.A § 25-17-304.

But Hamlet would still have the issue of his lack of honesty, credibility and integrity hanging over him. You do not get a "do over" in law enforcement. It's not like a preacher that commits some "sin" and goes before his or her congregation and breaks down crying and asking for forgiveness. Very few acts of misconduct are as damaging to a law enforcement officer's career than that of lying.  Courts have noted time and again that integrity is a fundamental job requirement.

Common sense tells you that to effectively prosecute crimes, officer credibility is critical.  Often, the officer's word is taken over that of a civilian, with both judges and juries frequently awarding a "tie" in a "he said, she said" or "swearing contest" to the officer based on "honesty" and "integrity" that is required to hold the job.  Thus when an officer's integrity is compromised, management understandably concluded that the law enforcement mission may be harmed by the officer's continued service. Such is the case of Hamlet's continued employment as the Director of ABC Enforcement.

Truthfulness is not only an issue of police witness credibility in a court of law; it strikes to the core of the ability to perform essential functions effectively.  Police officers complete factual reports based on their investigations and observations. These reports are relied upon by others to further investigations and are often used as critical evidence in a variety of proceedings.  Officers take enforcement action; secure evidence; maintain confidential information; have access to privileged information; handle drugs; handle money, and guns' process crime scenes; maintain reports of crimes and accidents; and, importantly, they are authorized by law to dispossess others of their constitutional rights and use deadly force when appropriate. Simply put, a law enforcement officials word, and the complete veracity of that word, is fundamentally necessary to doing the job.

Judicial pronouncements unequivocally provide that peace officers are held to the highest standards of behavior, with honesty and credibility being crucial to proper performance of their duties.  In Ackerman v. State Personnel Board (1983) Cal, App. 3d 395, the court found conduct could still support termination for a peace officer, because "a police officer must be held to a higher standard than other employees.  A police officer is expected to tell the truth".

Under Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, to ensure a fair criminal trial, prosecutors are obligated to notify criminal defendants about exculpatory evidence, which includes evidence that could be used to challenge the credibility of a material prosecution witness.  This is especially significant to the ability to effectively prosecute cases because an officer is often the only witness to the charged criminal act or the incriminating statements or conduct, and criminal defendants often dispute the officer's account of evidence.

Thus, dishonesty poses a dilemma for the employing law enforcement agency. If the Prosecuting Attorney's Office takes the position that it will not prosecute cases where the only witness in a Brady officer, then the officer cannot perform one of his or her fundamental job duties. In addition this can impact other officers as well p what happens if an officer proven to be dishonest in one instance is the only witness as to the actions of another officer in the field in, for example, an officer involved shooting.  The harm would not fall on the Brady officer, but on his or her colleague because the only corroborating witness is someone whose credibility has been severely undermined and damaged.

"Dishonesty" has been defined as conduct that "connotes a disposition to deceive" and " an absence of integrity; a disposition to cheat, deceive or defraud." Gee v. State Personnel Board (1070) 5 Cal. App. 3d 713, 718-719. Dishonesty "is not an isolated act; it is more a continuing trait of character." Gee, supra; Paulino v. Civil Service Commission of San Diego (1985) 175 Cal. App. 3d 962.

DFA Director Larry Walther needs to do the right thing and terminate Hamlet's employment with his agency. The ABC Enforcement agents need to be led by an honest individual that they can respect and look to as an example. Walther need not fear the "good ole boy" network because it is clear that Hamlet is not qualified, does not have the credentials to head a law enforcement agency and is a tainted liar.

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