Aurora police chief fires cop who fudged overtime approvals

1218

AURORA | An Aurora police officer with a history of falsifying reports has been fired for claiming overtime pay that he was not approved to receive, Police Chief Vanessa Wilson announced in a statement Monday.

Wilson said that she has fired Officer Jordan Odneal after he was found to have violated a trio of departmental policies related to overtime compensation, requests for overtime and making a false or untruthful statement.

Several of the department’s internal review panels found that Odneal lied about receiving approval for overtime earlier this summer, according to a news release.

Odneal claimed overtime for an academy training course on both June 4 and June 7 after indicating that his supervisor had approved the bonus pay, according to internal affairs documents. However, Odneal’s supervisor had texted him before he claimed the overtime wages to tell him that the pay would not be approved.

A pair of the municipal police department’s internal review boards both recommended firing Odneal.

“On day one of our academy, we instill in our officers the core values of duty, honor and integrity … Our officers deserve to work alongside someone who upholds these important principles.” Wilson said in a statement. “I pledge that I will hold those who commit such egregious acts accountable for their actions.”

Odneal, who had been with the department since 2011, has been accused of doctoring reports related to his work multiple times in the past, documents show. In 2017, a woman who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city claimed Odneal and another officer falsified documents that led to her being arrested on suspicion of assaulting a peace officer, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against the woman, and she later settled with the city for $335,000.

In summer 2019, Odneal was again dinged by an internal panel for violating five different department policies after his peers found he failed to help or file a report for a woman who claimed she had been scammed and threatened. He also failed to turn on his body worn camera during his interaction with the woman in the lobby of Aurora Police headquarters on July 27, 2019.

Odneal still has 10 business days to appeal his termination with the city’s Civil Service Commission. A spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department did not immediately know whether such an appeal has already been filed.

Odneal’s ouster comes after several high-profile firings among Aurora police ranks this year, including that of a former officer who ignored the pleas of a woman who fell on her head in the back of his patrol car, other officers found to have driven drunk while off-duty, and several officers who posed for an inflammatory photo beside a memorial for Elijah McClain this summer.