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Sheriff's office detective suspended for falsifying reports

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A sheriff's office detective has been suspended from his job, had his take-home vehicle taken away and is not allowed to work his part-time job after he admitted to falsifying mileage reports.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office merit board gave Detective Tevis McLaughlin an unpaid 24-day suspension and will not allow him to work his part-time job serving civil papers in Indianapolis for two months. McLaughlin will also be required to leave his work vehicle parked at the sheriff's office when he is off-duty for six months.

McLaughlin was charged with three internal rules violations, including making a false statement in a written report, allowing outside employment to interfere with job performance and conduct unbecoming an officer, according to disciplinary documents.

He told sheriff's office officials he falsified his mileage reports, showing that he had driven miles for his investigations work with the sheriff's office but instead was serving civil process papers for his part-time job.

Sheriff's officials learned the reports were falsified after closely watching the hours he was working for the sheriff's office and putting a GPS tracking device on his sheriff's office vehicle that tracked his mileage and where he was driving.

Sheriff Doug Cox asked the merit board to consider the disciplinary case because he believed McLaughlin deserved a suspension of more than 15 days, the maximum the sheriff is allowed to give. A local judge also decided in a past disciplinary case that the sheriff is not allowed to stop a deputy or detective from working a part-time job or from taking home their sheriff's office vehicle, and only the merit board can make that decision.

Cox believed the allegations were serious enough that they could be criminal, possibly including charges of ghost employment and official misconduct. He asked Indiana State Police to investigate the allegations. Their report was forwarded to the prosecutor, who decided not to file charges, Cox said.

See Thursday's Daily Journal for more information.

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