A lawyer for an East Hartford police sergeant accused of trying to inflate hours for another officer’s private duty job filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charge on Friday, contending the case is based on false information.
Attorney Michael Georgetti sought a court hearing on the attempted second-degree larceny charge that East Hartford police filed against his client, Sgt. Ian Allison, and Officer Robert Jones about two weeks ago. Both officers are on administrative leave pending results of an internal investigation.
Police say Allison abused his authority when he told road work supervisors to inflate billable hours on a road construction job that Jones worked on Aug. 3. Police say Allison told site supervisors that hours tacked onto the job were a penalty for not booking an officer at the beginning of the work, an arrest warrant says.
But Georgetti wrote in the motion to dismiss that he can prove the arrest warrant affidavits “included false and misleading statements” and there is insufficient evidence to prosecute his client. A police department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
A Paramount Construction crew was doing work for MDC on Whitney Street. Allison stopped by and told an MDC supervisor that a police officer, not just a flagger, was needed or the work would be shut down, the warrant said.
Jones arrived at the site at about 10:45 a.m. and worked until about 3:30 p.m., the warrant said. However, when a Paramount supervisor wrote those hours on a form, Jones became angry that the start time was not listed at 7 a.m. as he had been informed when he accepted the job, the warrant said.
MDC and Paramount workers said Allison told them that although Jones did not start work until mid-morning, the start time must be listed as 7 a.m. as a penalty for not hiring an officer in advance, the warrants for Allison and Jones say.
Current practice for private duty compensation is that if the job is filled while in progress, the officer is paid “from the time he receives the call, agrees to work the job and is prepared for duty,” the warrants say.
In his motion to dismiss, Georgetti wrote that Jones received a call to take a private duty job from an officer at police headquarters at 9:03 a.m. and then received details about the job in another call at 9:27 a.m.
“Officer Jones accepted the assignment, was prepared for duty all by 9:27, and thereafter drove from” New Hartford to the East Hartford police station, the motion says. Jones left the station for the job at 10:31 a.m. and then worked until his return to the police department at 3:53 p.m., the motion says.
The current rate for a private duty job is $60.30 an hour, the warrant says. Officers are paid five hours for jobs that are up to five hours long and eight hours for jobs between five and eight hours long. It is clear, Georgetti wrote in the motion, that Jones worked more than five hours and thus was entitled to eight hours of pay.
The warrants for Jones and Allison say Jones did not submit any payment slip for the job. Investigators, however, found that Jones never took time to clarify the job’s start time and should have known he was not entitled to payment for hours not worked, the warrants say. Allison went outside his powers when he tried to penalize the construction company and MDC for not hiring an officer for the road job, police said.
But the crime that Allison and Jones are accused of requires a demonstrable financial loss, Georgetti wrote, and there was none. Jones was entitled to be paid for eight hours and “just as importantly, as Officer Jones never turned in (the payment form), the intent to commit a crime is simply lacking,” the motion says.
Police union president Frank Iacono also has charged that Allison, 51, and Jones, 54, who are both Black, were treated more harshly than their white counterparts in similar cases. A department representative has not responded to the racial bias charge, but police spokesman Josh Litwin has said that the two officers were treated no differently than others in such criminal investigations.
Allison is a 21-year department veteran, and Jones is a 24-year veteran, Litwin said.
Jesse Leavenworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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