Officer suspended for sleeping on job

A Sandusky police officer will be placed on unpaid leave after an internal investigation concluded he fell asleep on the job.
Courtney Astolfi
Oct 19, 2013
Officer Robert Gardin will be suspended for 10 days — a total of 80 hours — without pay, according to police documents.

On the morning of Oct. 1, Gardin’s police cruiser idled in front of the Cheap Tobacco store on West Perkins Avenue for almost two hours. Earlier in the shift, Gardin’s cruiser idled in the Maag’s Automotive and Machine lot on Columbus Avenue for a little more than an hour, documents stated.

Administrators conducted an internal investigation but were unable to determine if any wrongdoing took place while Gardin was on Columbus Avenue. Testimony from fellow officers about the Perkins Avenue incident, however, was enough to warrant his suspension, according to police documents.

Footage from Gardin’s cruiser camera showed him pulling into the Cheap Tobacco lot at 3:34 a.m., then shutting off his headlights just seconds later, the documents stated.

About an hour later, Officer Kristofer Parsons pulled into the lot, but was unable to bring his cruiser alongside Gardin’s because a pole was in the way, documents stated. After less than a minute — when Gardin didn’t respond to his presence— Parsons left the lot.

Parsons continued with his duties, but when he noticed Gardin’s car still hadn’t moved at 5:20 a.m., he asked Sgt. Dawn Allen to check on him, according to the documents.

When Allen pulled up alongside the passenger side of Gardin’s vehicle, she saw his head hanging and yelled his name a few times. When Gardin awoke, Allen said something along the lines of, “Seriously, dude?” before driving away, documents stated.

The cruiser camera showed Gardin leaving the lot about nine minutes later.

When officers arrived back at the police station that morning, Gardin didn’t offer an explanation. A few days later he acknowledged the mishap, according to police documents.

During an Oct. 13 interview about the incident, Gardin told police commanders he had apparently “dozed” off in his cruiser that morning. Gardin initially estimated he was in the lot for about 30 to 60 minutes, but administrators then confronted him with documentation showing his cruiser was idle for almost two hours.

As for the 70-minute stretch in which he was parked off of Columbus Avenue? Gardin “said he believed he may have been eating lunch,” the documents stated.

Administrators concluded he violated two general rules of conduct: sleeping on duty and dereliction of duty.

Police Chief John Orzech said Gardin’s suspension will likely span different pay cycles, when the department is able to arrange the missing days on their schedule.

Orzech boiled his concerns down to three issues:

• Personal safety concerns for the officer.

• The public’s perception of an officer sleeping on the job.

• Safety concerns for other officers who may need assistance at any time.

“We’re supposed to be protecting and serving the community,” Orzech said. “Anything that sheds negative light on our agency by not doing that is a concern to us.

“Officer Gardin is fully aware he made an error and he owned up to it,” Orzech said. “He is sincerely apologetic for his actions, because it doesn’t bode well for him, our department or the city.”

Gardin has been a Sandusky police officer for almost 14 years. Orzech said this has been his first serious disciplinary infraction.

Comments

Sam

Apply after you take and learn proper captialization rules and sentence structure, I think it was covered in 3rd grade.

G George I du kno

People do make mistakes and this was definitely a mistake! I agree Parsons should have checked on him to make sure he wasn't suffering from a medical condition. With that being said I think 10 days off is a little excessive unless he has a poor record but i see him fighting this and winning! So even tho he was sleeping this will cost tax payers several thousand more in legal fees!

JohnDorian12

Glad I don't have a co-worker like Parsons....way to stick together

44824 north

I thought that they always had two officers in the cars at night. When did that change??

grinenbareit

I've always defended our SPD officers. But dozing off and sleeping for 2 hours is 2 different things. Yes, Parsons should have physically checked on him. What if he had sustained a minor injury during his shift that may have led to him being idle in his cruiser? And doesn't dispatch constantly know the where every cruiser is?

tdluvpit's picture
tdluvpit

Hey, at least he had sense enough to pull over when he was tired to sleep instead of remaining on the road with possibility of falling asleep at the wheel. Yes, if he was that damn tired, should have gone home but give the guy a break, graveyard is rough, & especially a driving job.

Onemanforce

@Sandusky2012: your ignorance and lack of humility is beyond comprehension. You would not last one shift dealing with what an SPD officer has to on a daily basis. So Rob dozed off, he will face his punishment and move on. He is a good officer, friend and above all, a good man! I know for a fact that there's no one more mortified about this incident than he is. I also know of way worse infractions committed by worse people, and what do they get? Not even a verbal reprimand. I would go to battle with and for Rob any day. Besides, the donut jokes are a little old. Cupcakes are all the rage nowadays!

T. A. Schwanger

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Having never me Officer Gardin, I will say working the midnight shift is very difficult. One does not eat right, or get the necessary amount of sleep or sunlight.

He may need to have a "Sleep Deprivation Study" conducted to make sure he does not have Sleep Apnea or Insomnia. Just a suggestion.

Simple Enough II

Well I will say this, atleast he didn't attempt to show up to work drunk or go through a drive-thru wndow loaded!

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