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Sheriff Sergeant Arrested for Drug Theft: Internal Affairs Supplemental Report #2


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MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE INSPECTIONAL SERVICES INVESTIGATION SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT #03-012

INVESTIGATION

On Friday, February 21 , 2003, at approximately 1210 , hours Detective Begley and I went to Sergeant Powell's residence (2416 Alvarado Drive, Kettering, Ohio 45420) to contact Sergeant Powell. There was no response at the residence. Detective Begley and I returned to the residence at 1340 hours and again there was no response.

At 1700 hours Detective Begley and I made contact with Nikki Powell, wife of Sergeant Powell, at the residence. Mrs. Powell informed us that Sergeant Powell was inside the residence asleep. Mrs. Powell invited us into the residence and awoke Sergeant Powell. Detective Begley informed Sergeant Powell there was a discrepancy in the medication count and requested he go with us to the Special Investigation Section to answer some questions. Sergeant Powell stated he would go.

While Sergeant Powell was in his bedroom gathering items to go with Detective Begley and me, I served him with his copy of the Administrative Leave document. I collected the following items belonging to the Sheriff's Office from Sergeant Powell: his duty ammunition, identification card, door access card, keys, and badge. I later gave the collected items to Major Drummer.

Detective Begley and I escorted Sergeant Powell to the Special Investigations Section.

INTERVIEW WITH SERGEANT TIMOTHY POWELL

On Friday, February 21, 2003, at approximately 1745 hours, Detective Begley and I conducted an interview with Sergeant Powell at the Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Section (335 West Third Street, Dayton Ohio 45402) in interview room #3...

At 1745 hours, Detective Begley reviewed the Pre-interview form with Sergeant Powell. I witnessed Sergeant Powell's signature on the form.

Sergeant Powell said he has been employed with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office for the past eight years. Sergeant Powell said he is a supervisor currently assigned to the Jail Division on first watch. Sergeant Powell said he has been a supervisor for approximately eight months.

Sergeant Powell admitted to receiving Vicodin from the medical office and medical staff on two or three occasions. Sergeant Powell said At no time I stole anything without anybody knowing, it was all issued to me."

Sergeant Powell said, while on duty in the middle of the month of January 2003, he went to the medical office and complained of a migraine headache. Sergeant Powell said he requested Vicodin and was given one Vicodin pill by a medic. Sergeant Powell said he could not recall who the medic was and could not be more specific on the date. Sergeant Powell said he swallowed the Vicodin pill while he was at work.

Sergeant Powell said on another occasion, sometime after January 15, 2003, while on duty, he contacted Medic Sippel and informed her he had a migraine headache. Sergeant Powell said the headaches were caused due to complications from his lasik eye surgery. Sergeant Powell said he asked Medic Sippel for Vicodin and Medic Sippel gave him two Vicodin pills. Sergeant Powell said the Vicodin pills were in a small white envelope. Sergeant Powell said he recalled the Vicodin pills had Watson 359 printed on them.

Sergeant Powell said in February, while on duty, Medic Sippel and he went into the pharmacy and opened the secured, controlled medication box, which was located in the stock medical cart. Sergeant Powell said he removed a blister packet of Vicodin pills from the box. Sergeant Powell said he took two Vicodin pills out of the blister packet. Sergeant Powell described the blister packet as a 6x8 card with medications in it. Sergeant Powell said the blister packet is used to dispense medication.

Sergeant Powell said after he took the two Vicodin pills, Medic Sippel instructed him to write the word "Tweety" on the back of the blister packet. Sergeant Powell admitted he did this so the blister packet would indicate inmate Samuel Tweedy had received the two Vicodin pills he had taken.

Sergeant Powell said he put the blister pack back into the box and secured the box. Sergeant Powell admitted, while on duty, he swallowed both the Vicodin pills approximately four hours apart.

Sergeant Powell said on February 21, 2003, he was assigned to the booking supervisor position. Sergeant Powell said Sergeant Del Braund was assigned to the housing supervisor position.

Sergeant Powell said between the hours of 0230-0300 his hands started shaking and he got a serious headache. Sergeant Powell said he is prescribed Serax and on this night he had forgotten his medication. Sergeant Powell said the Serax helps him relax. Sergeant Powell said he is prescribed four other types of medication, all of them to assist him with his sleep disorder and slight depression. Sergeant Powell said Serax is the only medication he takes while at work.

Sergeant Powell said that due to his headache and his hands shaking he went to the medical office to seek some type of medication. Sergeant Powell said he went to the medical office where Medic Sippel was. Sergeant Powell said Medic Sippel was at her desk preparing the medical cart for a medical round. Sergeant Powell said he asked medic Sippel if she had any Serax. Sergeant Powell said Medic Sippel told him she did not know. Sergeant Powell said he told Medic Sippel he had forgotten his Serax and had a headache and began to get the shakes. Sergeant Powell said the phone in the medical office rang and Medic Sippel answered the call.

Sergeant Powell said he then went back into the pharmacy. Sergeant Powell said the pharmacy was not secured. Sergeant Powell said he told Medic Sippel he was going to get something for his headache, but he was not sure if Medic Sippel heard him. Sergeant Powell said he went to the stock medical cart in the pharmacy, a location that Medic Sippel was not able to observe him. Sergeant Powell said he opened the third drawer in the cart and used the keys, which were located on top of the cart, to open the secured controlled medication box. Sergeant Powell said he was looking for something to take care of his headache. Sergeant Powell said he located a blister packet of Vicodin in the middle of the other packets. Sergeant Powell said he removed the blister pack from the security box and took three to four pills from the packet. Sergeant Powell said he wrote the current date and the word "tweety" on the back of the packet. Sergeant Powell admitted the reason he put the word "tweety" on the card was to make it appear inmate Tweedy had received the Vicodin. Sergeant Powell said he placed the blister packet back into the security box and secured the box.

Sergeant Powell said he then was notified by the radio that he had a phone call. Sergeant Powell said the call was transferred to the medical office. Sergeant Powell said after the conversation he left the medical office with the pills in his right hand and forgot to inform Medic Sippel he had taken the pills. Sergeant Powell admitted the phone call he received while in the medical office was not a call that required an urgent response on his part.

Sergeant Powell said he then went outside the security of the jail to address avail matter. Sergeant Powell said approximately forty minutes later, around 0400 hours, he went to the supervisors' office on the first floor and swallowed one of the Vicodin pills. Sergeant Powell said he drank some Mountain Dew to assist him with swallowing the pill. Sergeant Powell said he placed the remaining pills in his shirt pocket. Sergeant Powell said that at approximately 0800 hours he swallowed the remaining Vicodin pills when he got home that morning. Sergeant Powell said that after he administered the Vicodin pills he drove to Regency Ridge Drive in Washington Township to file his tax returns.

Sergeant Powell said after he filed his tax returns he drove home and took his prescribed medications. Sergeant Powell said he then went to bed.

Sergeant Powell was able to give a very detailed description of the stock medical cart, identifying labels on each drawer. Sergeant Powell acknowledged he knew where the keys were kept for the stock medical cart and the secured, controlled medication box.

Sergeant Powell had knowledge of the specific types of medications that are kept in the secured, controlled medication box. Sergeant Powell admitted he knew Vicodin is a scheduled drug, but he was unsure of the schedule. Sergeant Powell said to obtain Vicodin legally it must be done through a doctor. Sergeant Powell admitted none of the Vicodin pills he either received or took from the medical office was prescribed to him. Sergeant Powell said that as of today's date no doctor or physician has prescribed Vicodin for him.

Sergeant Powell admitted the reason he wrote inmate Tweedy's name on the back of the blister packet was to deceive anyone who may review the packet. Sergeant Powell admitted by writing inmate Tweedy's name it would appear inmate Tweedy received the missing Vicodin.

Sergeant Powell said, "At no time did I try to steal or say that I was, took 19 Vicodin which was missing. There was only once that I went in and forgot to tell the medics, the other three or two times they were given to me by a medic, so I didn't steal them per se."

CONCLUSION OF FACT

On Friday, February 21, 2003, at approximately 0300 hours, Medic Sippel said Sergeant Powell entered the medical office. Medic Sippel said she was in the process of preparing the inmate medication cart for her upcoming medical round. Medic Sippel said Sergeant Powell went into the unsecured pharmacy. Medic Sippel said she became suspicious of Sergeant Powell's actions and decided to go into the pharmacy to check on Sergeant Powell. Medic Sippel said she observed Sergeant Powell closing the third drawer of the stock medication cart.

Medic Sippel said after Sergeant Powell left the medical office she conducted an audit of the medication in the third drawer of the stock medication cart. Medic Sippel said she was concerned because she knew the controlled drugs were located in that drawer.

Medic Sippel said the results of her audit were that there were four Hydrocodine 5/500 tab (substitute for Vicodin 5/500 tab) pills missing. Medic Sippel said she was the only medic on duty that evening and did not feel comfortable notifying the other sergeant on duty. Medic Sippel said she notified Medic Arnold of the circumstances when he arrived for duty.

Sergeant Powell admitted he went into the pharmacy on Friday, February 21, 2003, and took four Vicodin pills from the secured, controlled medication box in the stock medication cart. Sergeant Powell admitted he took the four Vicodin pills for his personal use. Sergeant Powell admitted he consumed one of the Vicodin pills while on duty and Sergeant Powell admitted he consumed the remaining Vicodin pills later that day.

In the course of the investigation Sergeant Powell admitted to receiving five Vicodin pills from the medical staff on three other occasions in the past two months. Sergeant Powell admitted to consuming the five Vicodin pills for his personal use.

Sergeant Powell's admitted actions constitute a violation of the Ohio Revised Code, section 2913.02 (A)(3) Theft, a felony of the fourth degree. Sergeant Powell's actions are declared improper conduct. Sergeant Powell violated the following professional conduct rule:

Rule 2
Compliance with Laws

Employees must obey all laws of the United States, the individual states, and local jurisdictions as applicable. A conviction for the violation of any law is prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.

Montgomery County Sergeant Powell's admitted actions of taking Vicodin while on duty prevented Sergeant Powell from being able to maintain sufficient competency to properly perform his duties. Sergeant Powell's actions are declared improper conduct. Sergeant Powell violated the following professional conduct rule:

Rule 6
Unsatisfactory Performance

Employees must maintain sufficient competency to properly perform their duties and assume the responsibilities of their positions. Employees must perform their duties in a way that maintains the highest standards of efficiency in carrying out the functions and objectives of the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office may consider an employee's performance unsatisfactory when the employee lacks knowledge Of the application of law, displays the unwillingness or inability to perform a task, fails to conform to work standards set for his rank or position, fails to take Swift and appropriate remedial action when a subordinate does not meet standards, fails to act appropriately regarding a crime or other condition deserving police attention, or is absent without leave. Additionally, the following is considered prima facie evidence of unsatisfactory performance: repeated poor evaluations or a written record of repeated infractions of rules, regulations, directives or orders of the Sheriff's Office.

Sergeant Powell admitted he possessed a controlled substance while on duty without the proper authority. Sergeant Powell's actions are declared improper conduct. Sergeant Powell violated the following professional conduct rule:

Rule 9
Possession and Use of Drugs

Employees must never possess or use any controlled substances unless, in the treatment of the employee by a physician or dentist, the employee receives a prescription for the medication. When an employee has a prescription for medication that could limit or impair his ability to function, physically or mentally, he immediately notifies his supervisor. The notification must include providing the supervisor with a written list of the type medication, length of time to be taken, and the dosage. A physician's statement that the employee is fit for normal assignment or a restricted duty assignment must accompany the prescription information.

Sergeant Powell's conduct has embarrassed the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and discredits him as an individual. Sergeant Powell's conduct has impaired the normal operations of the Sheriff's Office. Sergeant Powell's actions are declared improper conduct. Sergeant Powell violated the following professional conduct rule:

Rule 45
Ethical Conduct

Employees must always conduct themselves, both on and off duty, in a way that reflects favorably on the Sheriff's Office. Employees are forbidden from engaging in conduct that dishonors the Sheriffs Office, discredits the individual as a law enforcement employee, or impairs the efficient operation of the employee or the Sheriff's Office. Besides the preceding rules, all employees are accountable and responsible for the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics as a professional guideline.

Sergeant John Brands
February 26, 2003

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