Dracut Police Lieutenant Suspended For Padding Comp Time
Oct 10, 2018 06:53PM
● By Bill Gilman
A 26-year veteran of the Dracut Police Department was handed a 5-day suspension without pay last month, after an Internal Affairs investigation determined he had been engaging in practices intended to pad his hours so that he could take compensatory time.
According to an article published by the Lowell Sun, the investigation, conducted Deputy Police Chiefs David Chartrand and Stephen Chaput, concluded that Lt. Michael Fleury was guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer, neglect of duty, lack of truthfulness, filing improper reports, insubordination and criminal conduct.
(Editor's note: The complete Internal Affairs report is attached to this story as a PDF file above).
According to the IA report, investigators looked into 97 instances in which Fleury was credited with compensatory time (comp time) because of a Detail Tracking System (DTS) entry in which "where he claimed it was necessary to stay on duty" beyond his regular shift. In 82 of those instances, investigators "gave him the benefit of the doubt" as to the reasons he said he needed to stay. However, there were 15 instances, according to the report, "where no reasonable explanation could be identified." The report said that in those instances, the reasons provided weren't consistent with the incident logs or DPD scheduling records.
According to the report, Fleury would accrue comp time in small increments, generally three or four hours at a time, and then use his accrued time to take off full shifts, generally on the weekends.
The investigators noted that Fleury has been an advocate for an administrative schedule that would allow lieutenants to have all weekends off.
"This motivation has manifested itself into a pattern of remaining on duty for unjustified, and in certain cases, false proffered reasons," read one section of the report.
The report further concluded that Fleury had not always been "forthright" when interviewed during the course of the investigation.
The full report had been obtained by the Lowell Sun through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Fleury was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 3 pending the results of the investigation. Following the investigation, he served his suspension and is now back on duty.
According to the IA report, the investigation was prompted by Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett, who was going through the DTS reports on March 28 and noticed what he believed to be an unusual entry for Lt. Fleury, having to do with "paperwork" being given as a reason for staying on duty extra hours and accruing comp time.
After discussing the matter with Fleury, Chief Bartlett felt that Fleury had "created a situation" that required his staying late and then put in for comp time. As a result, according to the IA report, Bartlett ordered Fleury to get approval from Deputy Chief Chaput to stay past his assigned shift. He also ordered a full "audit type review" of DTS reports.
The audit ran through June. The results of the audit then led to Bartlett instructing his two deputy chiefs to conduct a further review and investigation.
Recently, the department changed its policy for supervisors and the DTS system. Supervisors are no longer allowed to access, input and update info on their own attendance and scheduling. Under the new systems, the supervisors handle those duties for each other, according to the Lowell Sun article.
As a lieutenant, Fleury's annual salary is $106,000.
In a prepared statement, published by the Sun, Bartlett lauded his officers but called Fleury's actions a betrayal of trust.
"The Dracut Police Department is committed to ensuring the public trust and when it is determined that a member has betrayed that trust it will be investigated fully, rooted out and dealt with accordingly. We are looking at this situation as an anomaly; however we are in the process of reviewing all practices and records to ensure the system's integrity. This department is made up of dedicated, professional public servants and this is in no way a reflection of those who come to work every day proudly to do their job," the statement read.
Speaking to the Sun, Fleury's attorney called the investigation and report "a sham" and an attempt to damage the reputation of a good police officer who is nearing retirement.