By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer
A veteran Cincinnati police sergeant was suspended without pay Monday after a months-long investigation into falsified pay records ended with his indictment on 19 felony charges.
Sgt. Eric Schneider, on the force eight years, is accused of theft in office and tampering with records. He allegedly mixed up arrests made while he worked off-duty details with arrests made while on duty, purposely charging the city for 741/2 hours in compensatory time, worth about $2,200, that should have been paid by the company hiring him for the off-duty work.
"Sgt. Schneider, as the person in charge of his own off-duty detail, knew the rules," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen.
Officers are paid differently for court time, depending on factors like whether they're off that day and if they've been at work within the previous eight hours. Because of contractual language, they can make more money for on-duty arrests than for off-duty ones. When they get to court, officers sign a form saying whether the arrest happened on duty or off.
Sgt. Schneider, 32, worked in District 3 until late March, when Chief Tom Streicher took away his gun and badge and moved him to the telephone crime reporting unit because of the ongoing investigation. Monday, Streicher took away his pay. An administrative hearing will be scheduled within five days.
Model Management, an apartment company that actually owed most of the $2,200, knew nothing of the issue, Streicher said, and did nothing wrong.
He stressed how the investigation got started - by an internal investigator who, during an unrelated matter, noticed an irregularity in a form.
That investigator's good eye and the resulting investigation, Streicher said, shows "the willingness of the police department to not turn its head. This is a good opportunity to dwell on the integrity of the agency."
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