No charges in police overtime scandal

September 13, 2010 3:35:08 PM PDT
ABC11 Eyewitness News has learned that the North Carolina Attorney General's Office will not seek charges against former Durham Police Department officer Alesha Robinson-Taylor or former deputy chief BJ Council.

The Special Prosecutor's Unit in the Attorney General's Office has been reviewing a State Bureau of Investigation probe of alleged overtime abuse within the department. It has now notified the Durham County District Attorney's Office by letter.

“They’ve informed us that while there might have been probable cause for a criminal case,” said District Attorney Tracey Cline. “There was insufficient evidence.”

The probe began last year when a City of Durham audit showed Robinson-Taylor billed the city for excessive overtime.

Click here to read the report (.pdf)

The report says Taylor - who held the title of Secondary Employment Coordinator and was in charge of coordinating off-duty work for Durham police officers - collected $62,583 in overtime between September 1, 2008 and the end of August, 2009. The amount of overtime she collected was more than her normal annual salary.

Robinson-Taylor was fired. The overtime was approved by Council - who left the department over the scandal.

"We're pleased and overjoyed to find out what we knew all along: she hadn't intentionally committed any criminal offenses. She's still adamant that she did her job with the resources that she had in a professional manner. She was clearly a scapegoat for the city," Alesha Robinson Taylor's attorney James "Butch" Williams told ABC11 Monday.

In response to the audit, Durham police leaders say they have made sweeping changes to payroll and overtime policies.

A monthly report now chronicles each officer’s overtime hours, which is reviewed by the DPD Executive Command Staff and the job description of the Secondary Employment Coordinator has been revised and the position's right to earn off duty pay has been clarified.

City Manager Tom Bonfield also released a statement about the matter on Monday.

"The City of Durham respects the decision of North Carolina Attorney General's office not to seek charges in this case," Bonfield said. "While the City has recovered some of the money in question from Ms. Robinson-Taylor, a decision has not been made whether or not the City will pursue other legal remedies at this time."

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