On My Honor…..

WARREN, Mich. — A Warren police sergeant has been given 12 months of probation and ordered to complete 150 hours of community service after being fired when it was discovered he wasn’t truthful on a police report. Sgt. Tim Maniere pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of willful negligence of duty. Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso said Maniere was fired because his written report about a traffic stop and a drug-related arrest didn’t match separate videos of the incident. Galasso said a TV Warren cameraman was traveling with Maniere in July when the 15-year department veteran arrested a suspect on a felony narcotics charge. The case was dismissed and Maniere was suspended with pay after an evidentiary hearing in January showed the video and footage from the officer’s patrol car didn’t match his written report. “You have to have trust in your police department,” Galasso said. “We owe that to our community.” Maniere was also ordered to pay fines and costs of $1,500.

Bloomfield Hills— A West Bloomfield Township police officer and a Southfield man were charged Tuesday in a ticket-fixing scheme that a district judge described as an “alleged violation of the public trust.”Jeffrey Scott Pindzia, 38, of Canton Township, a 17-year veteran of the department, was charged with misconduct in office and conspiracy to commit misconduct in office. Both are felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and fines up to $20,000. Rudi S. Gammo, 31, was charged with two conspiracy counts in the same incidents, which allegedly occurred between Nov. 16 and Dec. 12. Although he is not a public officer, Gammo allegedly aided and abetted the scheme, investigators said. “Mr. Gammo denies the financial conspiracy that is alleged,” said his attorney, Ferris Haddad. Pindzia’s attorney, Mitchell Ribitwer, said after the court hearing that he is still learning the facts of the case and his client maintains he has broken no laws. Bloomfield Hills 48th District Judge Diane D’Agostini set bond at $20,000 for Pindzia and $100,000 for Gammo, whose criminal history includes convictions for assault and drug dealing. Both were remanded to the Oakland County Jail. West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton said Pindzia was relieved of duties Monday afternoon pending the outcome of the criminal case and an internal investigation.

Court records reveal the charges concern an alleged offer made to a West Bloomfield resident over tickets he received. The man was ticketed by Pindzia on Nov. 18 for driving without a valid license and having tinted windows in violation of state law. Two days earlier, according to court records, he had been ticketed for a more serious case involving leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident in the township. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office determined the man was approached by Gammo with an offer to take care of his tickets for a $2,000 fee.

When I see these stories I am simply heartbroken.  For the officers, for their families, for their departments and for the entire police community.   I don’t know why they chose to violate their badge.  Officers who lose their sense of direction lose the public’s trust.  And we cannot complete our mission of community service without the confidence of the community. 

We want and need the support of the community.  We hold ourselves to a higher standard–people have a right to expect more from us.  At our Awards Recognition Ceremony each year we recall our Oath of Honor:

On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.

I am deeply saddened by the choices of these officers.  But I want you to know that they are the exception–not the rule. 

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.