Cedar Rapids police officer disciplined for sleeping on the job

2011-05-19T10:54:00Z 2011-05-20T03:18:23Z Cedar Rapids police officer disciplined for sleeping on the jobBy JEFF RAASCH, jeff.raasch@sourcemedia.net Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa --- A Cedar Rapids police officer who was caught sleeping on the job has been disciplined, authorities said Thursday.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, admitted that he dozed off in his squad car on the morning of May 10 after finishing a burglary report, Sgt. Cristy Hamblin said. He was photographed by a pest exterminator, and the image was sent to police and local media.

Police would not say what type of discipline the officer received, but said he was not fired and remains with the department. Hamblin said the disciplinary action, which can range from a verbal reprimand to termination, was taken Wednesday.

Hamblin said the department's biggest concern was that the officer put himself in a vulnerable position. She declined to say if the officer had any previous infractions.

The officer was not on a break when he was caught sleeping, Hamblin said.

"There were other factors involved, but it is irrelevant," Hamblin said. "Officers aren't allowed to sleep on duty."

The officer was spotted around 6:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Knox Presbyterian Church, 1525 Hollywood Blvd. NE. Joe Stutler, 47, of rural Cedar Rapids, said he was delivering breakfast to his fiancée at the church day care when a pest exterminator showed him the photo.

"He seemed a little bit upset that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars," Stutler said.

Stutler said the exterminator told him he woke the officer up after taking the photo, and the officer drove off. The officer was gone when Stutler arrived, but his fiancée saw the police car when she arrived at the church, he said.

The man who took the photo was identified and interviewed but asked to remain anonymous, police said.

Hamblin said the officer was in the wrong, but she downplayed the idea that it could seen as an embarrassment to the department.

"Anyone that works the overnight hours, or an offset of your regularly scheduled sleep pattern, understands," Hamblin said.

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(26) Comments

  1. WI resident
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    WI resident - May 21, 2011 9:14 pm
    Oh ya, there are JD workers that take a nap during working hours 3rd shift. They have to be caught to be reprimended. But if no foreman on that shift, they are free to do to it.
  2. DaddyTJ
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    DaddyTJ - May 21, 2011 12:09 pm
    momofthree said: "DaddyTJ - I seriously doubt if you have seen anyone sleeping while working at Deere because you have to show a badge to get into the factory. You do not work at Deere (you have said so more than once) so I can't believe you have been inside the plant watching people working OR sleeping.That being said, you can be fired on the job at Deere for only a few things.... and sleeping on the job is one of them. I actually believe some disciplinary action is warranted but I would not say fire him. Just my opinion."

    You're right, I have said I don't work at Deere's more than once...in the past. However, I have worked there on and off filling in for co-workers for the past 2 1/2 years and just took a promotion, so I'm there every day now. Cheers!
  3. momofthree
    Report Abuse
    momofthree - May 20, 2011 10:37 pm
    DaddyTJ - I seriously doubt if you have seen anyone sleeping while working at Deere because you have to show a badge to get into the factory. You do not work at Deere (you have said so more than once) so I can't believe you have been inside the plant watching people working OR sleeping.
    That being said, you can be fired on the job at Deere for only a few things.... and sleeping on the job is one of them. I actually believe some disciplinary action is warranted but I would not say fire him. Just my opinion.
  4. Dadof3
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    Dadof3 - May 20, 2011 5:14 pm
    BandFan621 said: "Stop it with the fireman routein. While I appreciate their work they call out many vehicles when it is NOT necessary. Minor fender benders with NO fuel or other leakage get 2-3 trucks along with the emt ambulance and sometimes a crew chiefs car so they can claim 5-6 7 calls to one accident? A man has a heart attack and yet they send a Complete firetruck with all accompanying equipment along with the EMT Ambulance?They pad their numbers to justify their existance. With all the homes and businesses that have increased their fire codes over the last 30 years one would think we would have fewer calls yet you claim 13,000 per year? We must be doing something wrong to be LESS safe that 30 years ago. Give me a break!"

    I wasn't going to comment, but you are so grossly misinformed, someone needs to correct you. I highly doubt that you will pay attention, but let's give this a shot.

    1. Regarding vehicle accidents, units are dispatched according to several factors. These include posted speed limits (>45 mph), reported severity of the call, whether extrication is needed, etc. A standard response for a reported motor vehicle accident greater than 45mph is one rescue company(to extricate if needed), one engine company for fire protection as well as scene protection, one EMS unit, and one command vehicle. Command is there to meet several guidelines which dictate that a incident command structure must be utilized.
    2. The above mentioned scenario counts as one call, no matter how many vehicles respond. In fact, on ANY call, no matter how many vehicles respond it only counts as one call.
    3. Regarding the heart attack scenario that you mention. A engine is sent with the EMS unit for varied reasons. These include lifting assistance, the possibility of needing someone to drive the medic unit so that both paramedics can attend to the patient in critical situations, being proactive with the very real possibility that the patient will go into cardiac arrest and extra help will be needed, plus several more. This serves as a proactive measure to ensure that there will be no delays in patient care. Again, this counts as one call. If this were your child, spouse, whatever, I would bet that you would want the appropriate personnel there to provide the best care possible.
    4. Lastly, no matter how good the police department is, and ours is exceptional, people gawk at accidents, or anytime there is an emergency vehicle present. Remember that terrible accident on 218 just the other day? Extra vehicles help to ensure the safety of the scene. That includes the PD who are focused on their part of the call, the FF's who are focused on their duties, and the patients who are being treated.

    Hope that helps.

    @DaddyTJ- I think that you misunderstood Always ask Why's response to Chad's idiotic post. We all appreciate your families loss, and greatly respect your dad's service to our community. In fact, I was proud to have been able to help honor him and the other officers last week. The fact is, and I would expect you to understand this more than most, PD and FD are two separate cultures, with differing mind sets. FD and PD have always had a great working relationship, and respect for what the other does. No one said that they don't risk their lives, I for one have watched them in precarious situations numerous times. We just do it differently.
  5. Think
    Report Abuse
    Think - May 20, 2011 3:38 pm
    Well Steady I do think anyone sleeping on the job should be fire. Unless you work as a sleep study. I know TJ all about your anger. If your dad were here would he want to depend on this guy? I don't care how long the shift or days worked, we have all endured it. So air taffic controlers are fired but you want to cops a pass. Sorry, I don't need a cop I am more than able to take of myself, but what if this guy was needed as back up? Gee, I'm sorry, my radio must have a glitch. As far as firemen, I would not have wanted to work with a drunk.
  6. gkb32
    Report Abuse
    gkb32 - May 20, 2011 1:17 pm
    Cops and fire fighters. You are both heros in my book. I'm just a cube dwelling geek. So please stop putting each other/line down. You both provide a VALUABLE service to the community. Why are you making this a "my dad is tougher than yours" issue? Relax.

    As for this cop sleeping, I don't know the entire story. If he was on a long shift, and was on a 5am call, he might have been really tired. It's not like he was driving and fell asleep. And you can't compare that to an air traffic controller. Them sleeping can cause a major disaster. A cop, pulled over, and sleeping isn't necessarily life or death.

    Should he be punished. Yep. Fired, no way. I'm sure this is embarrassment enough for the guy.

    Thank you police, and thank you fire fighters. Kumbaya.
  7. WI resident
    Report Abuse
    WI resident - May 20, 2011 12:55 pm
    BandFan621: When there is a fire call, dispatch or the dept has no idea, only the info that was called in by the public. So they respond not knowing how bad the situation is. The EMT are called not only for people invloved in the incident but also for the safety of the Fire crew.
    Better safe than sorry!
  8. Steady
    Report Abuse
    Steady - May 20, 2011 11:19 am
    think, I have no problem with your opinion this officer should have been fired for nodding off as long as you have the same opinion for every other employee. The problem I have with your opinion is that this has something to do with "a thick blue line". Your coined phrase is without merit. I can guarantee that not all employers fire employees for similiar acts because I have seen it myself. In those cases the employees were disciplined and this officer was disciplined. For those companies that didn't fire their employee, what "Thick Line" were they hiding behind?

    I am not sure how we went down the road comparing law enforcement to fire, but they are different professions. If we are going to criticize law enforcement, lets be honest about fire as well. 13,000 calls for service, ok, but that is a small percent of calls for service law enforcement respond to. What do fire personnel do in between calls when law enforcement is still patrolling? Training and maintenance of equipment, you bet, but they also bring in their personal equipment (like motorcycles & boats) and work on them using city equipment. I have always been fine with critics of law enforcement as long as they hold others to the same standard.
  9. DaddyTJ
    Report Abuse
    DaddyTJ - May 20, 2011 9:40 am
    always ask why said: "well chad, firemen work 24 hr. shifts. cops work 8. you give me a break. oh yeah, firemen eat, sleep, workout, train, sometimes relax, go on 13,000 calls a year, and also risk thier lives for the likes of your sorry butt. all while on shift and getting paid. why is it we are comparing cops to firemen ? not the same. apples and oranges dude. a cop might compare them. believe me, a fireman wont. "


    So cops, who go on many more than 13,000 calls per year don't risk their lives for your sorry butt? Something routine could get them killed. Just ask my dad...oh wait, you can't because that routine call he went on got him killed.

    And Think, comparing cops today to cops 20 years ago isn't fair. 20 years ago, it was pretty rare for young children to commit violent crime. I must've missed the story where the 5 year old was handcuffed for no apparent reason.
  10. Think
    Report Abuse
    Think - May 20, 2011 8:55 am
    DaddyTJ said: "You think it's the union just "let him off?" You think things like this only happen to cops? As I said in another post, I've seen John Deere union employee's sleeping on the job. They can get away with it because their contract only requires them to do so much, after that, they have nothing to do and their contract allows them to work no less than 8 hours a day.This cop made a mistake. We don't know the circumstances surrounding it. Unlike most of you, these men and women risk their lives every single day and are criticized most of their time for their actions. Read your posts...it's amazing people even want to become cops. You all are the type who would yell racism if a cop looked at your the wrong way. Grow up or get out."

    I wasted almost 10 years at Deere on both sides. I don't know what you think you saw but if you get caught sleeping during working hours outside break, you are fired and the UAW can't do a thing. This is a first time firing offense. So Rip Van Winkle should move on to mall cop. As for firemen, outside break and lunch they train 8 to 5 and then are on call as needed. Cops today are not even the same as even 20 years ago. Cops then would not cuff a 5 year old. If people think FF play ping pong during training/service hours, check out a fire house. When is the last time a cop had to mow a lawn?
  11. BandFan621
    Report Abuse
    BandFan621 - May 20, 2011 6:01 am
    always ask why said: "well chad, firemen work 24 hr. shifts. cops work 8. you give me a break. oh yeah, firemen eat, sleep, workout, train, sometimes relax, go on 13,000 calls a year, and also risk thier lives for the likes of your sorry butt. all while on shift and getting paid. why is it we are comparing cops to firemen ? not the same. apples and oranges dude. a cop might compare them. believe me, a fireman wont."

    Stop it with the fireman routein. While I appreciate their work they call out many vehicles when it is NOT necessary. Minor fender benders with NO fuel or other leakage get 2-3 trucks along with the emt ambulance and sometimes a crew chiefs car so they can claim 5-6 7 calls to one accident? A man has a heart attack and yet they send a Complete firetruck with all accompanying equipment along with the EMT Ambulance?
    They pad their numbers to justify their existance. With all the homes and businesses that have increased their fire codes over the last 30 years one would think we would have fewer calls yet you claim 13,000 per year? We must be doing something wrong to be LESS safe that 30 years ago. Give me a break!

  12. always ask why
    Report Abuse
    always ask why - May 20, 2011 12:31 am
    well chad, firemen work 24 hr. shifts. cops work 8. you give me a break. oh yeah, firemen eat, sleep, workout, train, sometimes relax, go on 13,000 calls a year, and also risk thier lives for the likes of your sorry butt. all while on shift and getting paid. why is it we are comparing cops to firemen ? not the same. apples and oranges dude. a cop might compare them. believe me, a fireman wont.
  13. DaddyTJ
    Report Abuse
    DaddyTJ - May 19, 2011 10:59 pm
    You think it's the union just "let him off?" You think things like this only happen to cops? As I said in another post, I've seen John Deere union employee's sleeping on the job. They can get away with it because their contract only requires them to do so much, after that, they have nothing to do and their contract allows them to work no less than 8 hours a day.

    This cop made a mistake. We don't know the circumstances surrounding it. Unlike most of you, these men and women risk their lives every single day and are criticized most of their time for their actions. Read your posts...it's amazing people even want to become cops. You all are the type who would yell racism if a cop looked at your the wrong way. Grow up or get out.
  14. Think
    Report Abuse
    Think - May 19, 2011 8:21 pm
    Chad said: "Think, maybe he should have been a fireman, where he would have gotten paid to sleep and play ping-pong. Give the guy a break. "

    Give me one reason for a "break". Maybe CR can ad sponsors to the cars like Donut Land and raise a few bucks. You can't look past this. Your a cop I guess, you want Rip Van as your partner?
  15. Chad
    Report Abuse
    Chad - May 19, 2011 6:23 pm
    Think, maybe he should have been a fireman, where he would have gotten paid to sleep and play ping-pong. Give the guy a break.
  16. pyraxsys
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    pyraxsys - May 19, 2011 5:32 pm
    He was just checking his eye lids for holes, Lucky Guy!
  17. panthairs
    Report Abuse
    panthairs - May 19, 2011 5:07 pm
    This is news?
  18. NrsBubbles
    Report Abuse
    NrsBubbles - May 19, 2011 4:24 pm
    Wow! I work in a hospital. I wonder if my employer would let me sleep on the job and just slap my hand for it. Must be nice!
  19. always ask why
    Report Abuse
    always ask why - May 19, 2011 4:05 pm
    he should be disciplined. not for sleeping, but for being too dumb not to at least wear a pair of dark sunglasses. duh. rookie mistake.
  20. Think
    Report Abuse
    Think - May 19, 2011 3:42 pm
    If he was that tired he should have called in ill. A cop that sleepy can get people killed. I have done many ride alongs with a buddy that is a cop. He chose this job and they are civilians not military. Luckily or he would face a court martial. Police union at work.
  21. DoesAnyoneCare
    Report Abuse
    DoesAnyoneCare - May 19, 2011 2:29 pm
    The story advises the officer was disciplined, and that there were circumstances involved. I'm sure he did not pull over on the side of the street to take a nap in full view of the public. For all we know he was at the end of a double shift, or maybe he works 1st or 2nd shift and was called in to cover for another officer. At least he pulled over to the side of the road to rest his eyes as opposed to trying to drive and falling asleep at the wheel. If this was his first time in trouble, he should be given another chance and not fired.
  22. Think
    Report Abuse
    Think - May 19, 2011 1:12 pm
    Try doing this in any other job and not be fired. Air traffic controllers come to mind. Of course we knew he wouldn't be fired. The thick blue line
  23. rjs
    Report Abuse
    rjs - May 19, 2011 1:09 pm
    dfrank5775 said: "This would never happen in loo. The cops would have to leave the coffee shop for a while to have the buzz wear off before they could sleep. "

    Have you ever gone on a shift ride along with a Police Officer? Maybe if you had you wouldn't be making such degrading comments about the people putting their life on the line so you can sleep safely at night. .

  24. dfrank5775
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    dfrank5775 - May 19, 2011 12:19 pm
    This would never happen in loo. The cops would have to leave the coffee shop for a while to have the buzz wear off before they could sleep.
  25. cf1981
    Report Abuse
    cf1981 - May 19, 2011 11:46 am
    guess that's how they do things down in cedar rapids, lol!
  26. scooterbug
    Report Abuse
    scooterbug - May 19, 2011 11:23 am
    I thought for sure this would turn out to be a photoshop. Bet he doesn't do that again! lol
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