HOLDING: Grievance was DENIED. Grievant had sex with a motorist he had recently pulled over for speeding. Grievant used sick leave to get off work early so that he could meet the motorist at her hotel. Grievant also asked a probationary trooper to “cover” for him.
Grievant, a four and one-half year trooper, was removed for Conduct Unbecoming an Officer, and False Statements. In November 2001, the Grievant was assigned to train a new trooper while the trainee’s regular mentor was off for a few days. During third shift, the Grievant and trooper-trainee stopped a female motorist for speeding. The motorist was cited and summoned to appear in court. The motorist provided her telephone and cell phone numbers to the Grievant. Later in the early morning hours, the Grievant called the violator’s cell phone number. The Grievant and violator had several phone and face-to-face conversations during the early morning hours of the shift. The Grievant eventually directed the violator to follow him into a hotel parking lot. The violator went into the motel and the Grievant and trainee drove away. After assisting a motorist with a disabled vehicle, the trainee heard the Grievant talking on his cell phone and refer to a room number. A few minutes later, the Grievant told the trainee that he was taking sick leave. The Grievant called another trooper and told him that he had vomited twice. The Grievant also asked to borrow the other trooper’s personal car because his patrol vehicle needed repairs. The Grievant asked the trainee to keep the “huge secret” between the two of them. The Grievant then drove his friend’s car to the hotel and had sex with the violator. When the second trooper returned to the post, the trainee, who was very upset, admitted that the Grievant was probably in the hotel with the violator. The second trooper drove to the hotel, saw his car in the parking lot and telephoned the Grievant. The trooper told the Grievant he needed to come forward and admit his wrongdoing. The Grievant stated that he would do so, but never did.
The Employer argued that the Grievant was removed because he created a web of lies to cover up the fact that he had engaged in an improper association with a violator. The web of lies encompassed himself, a trainee, and another trooper. The Grievant also compromised the criminal case against the violator when he engaged in an improper relationship with her. The Patrol also argued that any dishonesty on the part of a Highway Patrol member is a dischargeable offense, even for a first violation.
The Union argued that this was a case of the Grievant having an unwise, off-duty date. The Union claimed the Grievant did not lie during any official investigation, but acknowledged that he did lie to the trainee and trooper. The Union also acknowledged that the Grievant lied about being sick. The Union pointed to the Grievant’s good work record and claimed that termination was too harsh for a first-time violation.
The Arbitrator denied the grievance in its entirety. Arbitrator Murphy found the Grievant engaged in a sham by lying to his post and another trooper, and in involving a trainee in attempting to cover up the incident. The Arbitrator found the Grievant totally compromised the criminal case against the violator by his actions. Because the Grievant’s actions shattered the Employer’s trust in the Grievant, the Arbitrator denied the grievance.