A Pine Bluff Police officer who was fired by Police Chief Kelvin Sergeant will be getting his job back, thanks to a civilian review panel.
Deondre Goodwin appealed the firing to the review panel, which was composed of Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Montgomery, Stoney Shaw, who runs Animal Control, and Patrick Lockett, who works for Code Enforcement. The review panels replaced the Civil Service Commission after the Pine Bluff City Council abolished the body.
Goodwin, who has been on the job for less than two years, will be required to attend anger management training and will not receive back pay for the time he was off.
In his testimony Thursday morning, Goodwin, who was assigned to the Patrol Division, said he was asked to meet his shift sergeant, Marcia Oliver, at Super 1 Foods on Camden Road, and she asked him if he had left work early. Goodwin said he hadn't and was told to write a memo saying that.
Later, he was taken off the street and assigned to the Telephone Reporting Unit and was interviewed by Internal Affairs investigators. After that, he said he was put back on the streets on the same shift; about a month later, he was called into the chief's office, where he was accused of being untruthful.
Police Capt. Denise Richardson presented the department's side of the story Thursday. She was filling in for Sergeant, who was unavailable because of an emergency.
Richardson said that even though Goodwin was asked to write a report, he did not do so, and during the course of the internal affairs investigation, four officers, including a supervisor, provided information that Goodwin had left work before his shift ended. Those four included two officers who were coming to work on the next shift and an officer assigned to another division.
Richardson said that the department considers lying as a cardinal offense, particularly to internal affairs investigators who work directly for the chief of police. Richardson said officers who are being investigated are read their rights and compelled to testify, and if they are found to be untruthful, would face discipline up to being terminated.
Asked by Lockett if it was common practice for officers to be asked to meet on a parking lot, Richardson said it was.
“They work the streets, and that way (the supervisor) can get the ball rolling,” she said.
Asked about prior disciplinary actions against Goodwin, Richardson said he had been reprimanded twice and received one suspension during his time on the job.
Montgomery asked Goodwin if the officers who said that he left work early were wrong, and he said they were, again insisting that he had not left work early.