TWO ROOKIE OFFICERS THAT RECEIVED $5K BONUS AND QUIT IDENTIFIED - ONE WAS TOP OF CLASS AND AWARD WINNER.
|NATHAN LEE - TOP RECRUIT AND ONE OF TWO OFFICERS TO QUIT AND WALK AWAY WITH $5K FREE & CLEAR IN LESS THAN 6 MONTHS OF GRADUATING|
On or about February 3, 2017 City Manager Bruce Moore decided that in order to attract recruits for the struggling Little Rock Police Department, the city would give recruits that completed basic training a $5,000.00 signing bonus. He also decided that the first group of recruits to receive it would be the ones graduating that day.
|MOORE DISCUSSING HOW HE GO THE IDEA FOR THE BONUS|
"Some very good news for you. It is my pleasure to announce that each of you will receive a $5,000 check from me for because of your successful completion of your training," said Moore.
Well, that check was not really from Moore and the money did not come from his personal bank account, it was public funds from the taxpayers that was budgeted for salaries for the budgeted but unfilled 60 to 70 police officer positions.
"I did some research across the country and saw these signing bonuses and thought, this is what we're going to do," said Moore to reporters after the ceremony.
LRPD posted this on their Facebook page at around 2:55 p.m. that same day.
We know the exact time as they edited the post.
Officer Nathan Lee was the top recruit in the class and was a featured speaker at the ceremony. Lee was presented with a symbolic check for the class and then like it one that bore his name. The other that graduated also received one of the big checks as well. Moore is never one to miss a photo opportunity.
|MOORE AND LEE POSE FOR A PUBLICITY PHOTO|
|EACH GRADUATING RECRUIT RECEIVED A BIG CHECK FOR A PUBLICITY PHOTO|
You can view a television news report about the ceremony and "surprise" bonus payments. It is important to note that Moore states that the $5k is a "bonus." That will be important a little later.
Not everyone was happy with Moore's decision to issues the bonus. FOP president John Gilchrist was concerned about existing officers that not received raises or any type of bonus in several years.
Gilchrist told reporters that the biggest concern officer had is that in two contract negotiation attempts the city told the FOP that there was no money for raises.
Gilchrist also raised concerns that there were no stipulations about receiving the $5k and if one of the new officers left the next day they could take the $5k and run.
That is exactly what happened,but it was not the next day, it was less than six months later.
The first officer to leave was Samuel Ringgold. He quit for personal reason on
May 24, 2017, just a little over three months after receiving the $5k bonus.
Officer Ringgold quit three months after completing his training and becoming a LRPD officer.
According to records from CLEST. Ringgold did not go to work for any other law enforcement agency.
Then on August 11, 2017, top recruit Nathan Lee quit, also for personal reasons.
Lee had just been awarded an award in July by the Little Rock Civitan Club for being the top recruit and best shot on the range.
We don't know why Lee quit, but it was not for another position in law enforcement. Records obtained from the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards & Training ("CLEST").
We had some difficulty initially in getting the city to cooperate with our FOI request.
Then Officer Lee told the city attorney Tom Carpenter he didn't care if we obtained his information and they sent it on. Carpenter stated that City Manager Bruce Moore had sent a letter to the Arkansas Attorney General requesting an opinion about their releasing information about the officers and the bonus.
You can view the Attorney General's response to Moore by clicking here.Remember back a few paragraphs above we told you to remember that Moore call the $5k a "bonus"? Here is why. Moore claimed in his letter to the Attorney General that the $5k was not a bonus, but was incentive pay. Liar, liar pants on fire. Watch that video clip again and see if you don't agree that Moore is a liar.
In that FOI request we also asked for policy or procedures regarding the $5k bonus/incentive. Guess what? No policy or procedures exist and there are no requirements that recruits have to remain on the job a set period of time to keep the bonus.
Most agencies or private companies that hand out bonus or incentive monies have specific requirements regarding issuance of the funds.
For City Manager to not have a written policy or procedure in place before issuing such is pure maleficence. And not having a permanent source of funding for them in a budget is unconscionable and poor management.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul, by using funds set aside for salaries for unfilled positions is a step towards insolvency and ruin.
Changes are needed at city hall and the mayor, city manager (and others) need to removed from office and replaced by competent, credible individuals.
Take a look at this LRPD recruit class #85 video. The highlight is the recruits getting to experience what it feels like to be shot by a Taser.
Also check out what Max Brantley with the Arkansas Times had to say about this.
A reader sent an email advising us that Lee quit to attend law school. Guess we know how he paid for part of his first semester's tuition. Hope he doubles down on the ethics classes.
In an interview on February 3, 2017, then Officer Lee, the top recruit in his class said he's ready for the challenges ahead...
"I think for a lot of us it's something we've always wanted to do [police work] despite kind of how things are going on in the world right now. We all just see it as an opportunity to do what we're called to do and give back to our community," said Officer Lee.
With extra cash in their pocket, Lee says they're looking ahead, ready to overcome obstacles and put their training to work.
"None of us were expecting it. It was a big blessing. I think we were all totally shocked whenever we heard the news," said Officer Lee.
Maybe that call to Lee to be a cop was a misdial as he quit just months after graduating.
Maybe Lee should give that $5k back. Just a thought.