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.



Hahaha ! What a teammate ! Hopefully our tax dollars can buy him a pillow and a Binky for his next shift !


or an alarm clock!


Maybe they need to go back to 8 hour shifts?


I noticed the parking around by the officers has started up again. The parking used to be real bad until Nuesee stopped the practice so are the officers testing the Chief out as to how far they can go? How is it that a patrol car can be parked for two hours and not know that the car hadn't moved especially with trackers on the car. Didn't we hear where the police cars had GP on cars and the city knew where every car was? For two hours he could have been patrolling the neighborhoods instead, he sleeps for two hours while the gas is being wasted with all kinds of equipment inside the car that could have been stolen. It gets more interesting because another officer pulls up aside the other officer to check on him and waits a minute and leaves never checking on him for a medical condition or calling in that he is sleeping in the car. The other officer should be suspend as well because he left not knowing if the officer needed help or did he know he was sleeping and didn't want to disturb him or turn him in until after the fact.


I agree. Why did Parsons leave when "Gardin didn't notice his (Parsons') presence"? Didn't he think that was odd? Did he notice Gardin's head flopped to the side? I realize it's not up to Parsons to babysit, but being aware of his surroundings, including an idling police car with an officer inside and his head flopped to the side, is basic common sense.

Simple Enough II

What o you think happen there? There is a possibility he has ticked off his co-workers in the past with similar activities and they just had enough. Must have been a slow period also due to lack of radio chatter.....

Good 2 B Me

Seriously Dude? LMAO

Colonel Angus

At least he wasn't sexting or pissing in the bay. Sandusky, Ohio and proud of it!


Must be pretty common if he did not even bother to wake the guy up? Some buddy? The cop could've had a medical emergency but it seems that was not a concern!




Must have had turkey for lunch. Does it to me every time!

Julie R.

Nicole Ard will probably get the blame for this one, too.




Here is the real truth .I cannot afford to go without a pay check so help me out dude please. as for the 70 minute lunch break how long does the department give to their employees?

Julie R.

Sure hope he doesn't get fired or the Erie County courts will have to reinstate him and publicly chastise the city manager again!


Here we go again with all of the high and mighties~has anyone ever made a mistake before~I could see how it would be easy to doze off in the middle of the night~why did the first officer not check him out to make sure he was ok and just wake him and let him know he dozed off or whatever the problem might be instead of playing tattle tale. Nobody is PERFECT!


This officer loses two pay periods without any past infractions, yes he screwed up and is being disciplined by the department, end of story. Has the anti law enforcement critics on this blog always been perfect in their jobs, if they even have a job? Just have to wonder if this was another department more favorable to the Register if this would have even made the paper?


was tired after eating all those doughnuts, put him on paid leave like the rest oft the crooks


Here come the...nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes enablers who want no accountability for anyone in this world. Excuses, excuses, excuses ! Im sick of hearing it from you jackwagons ! Get a red bull. Suck it up & do what the taxpayers pay you to do Mr. Narcolepsy !

Darwin's choice



maybe he was waiting until donut time?


"Here come the...nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes enablers who want no accountability for anyone in this world."
He lost two full pay periods, that is accountability. Must be difficult to be as perfect as some of these people. As for the donut fool comments, my bet is that most of you are heavier and in worse physical shape that any of the officers of SPD.


Not likely.... I've got run away from the cops speed ! Have you seen some of these guys ? I'm surprised they can even get their vests on !

Julie R.

Gee, I sure hope Chief Orzech followed the proper procedure in the filing of this suspension or Binette and Tone will have to publicly chastise him in the Sandusky Register!

Julie R.

I also hope this wasn't a "wrongful suspension" or Tone and/or Binette will have to publicly chastise Orzech over that one, too!

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

I know rob personally and I am certain he would never intentionally duck out to take a nap. Especially considering it could put other officers at risk. I worked midnights for many years and its not hard to doze off! Im not making excuses for him but I understand how graveyard is. Rob is an avid volunteer with the perkins marching band and the boy scouts of america. when the spit hits the fan hes the one I would want in my corner!

Dont Worry Be Happy

I agree with you...super great guy that I to believe he wouldn't just park his car and go to sleep on purpose. He dozed off, he made a mistake, he is human and now he will take his punishment and then come back refreshed ready to go.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Donuts make me sleepy. Must be the sugar and carbs.


no rob wouldnt want to doze off he just wanted to get paid for it this time.Im just curious why the dispatcherss didnt check on him routeenly....


hey orzech can i become a cop and sleep on the job?
bet the union liked this one


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!


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??


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

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.


@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


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!