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.