SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Jan. 26, 2015)-- FOX59 News has learned that a Speedway police officer was suspended for 35 days in 2014 for falsifying traffic ticket statistics while working on a federally funded traffic safety program.
Officer Mike Clupper was found to have lied about his role in the Marion County traffic safety partnership.
Local officers, working overtime, typically are assigned four-hour shifts when they are expected to write four tickets, or confirm a similar number of traffic contacts, per hour.
The $400,000 federal grant program is aimed at jailing drunk drivers, patrolling high-incident intersections and enforcing speed limits.
Clupper's falsified ticket count was uncovered by an audit by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and IMPD, the lead agency in the partnership.
"During this audit we recognized there was a descrepancy in the number of tickets that were scheduled to be in court versus the number of tickets on the stat sheet," said IMPD Deputy Chief Mike Bates. "He was basically over reporting the number of (tickets) that he had written during a particular time."
"I was told it was six separate times."
Clupper and Chief James Campbell, who recommended the suspension to the Speedway police merit board, were not available for comment.
Earlier in the day, Campbell spoke to the 10th IMPD leadership academy which trains low ranking officers in department management.
"You've heard the message and I think in 2015 there is nothing more important than the quality of leadership within a police department."
Bates said that while it is the responsibility of each department's supervisors to monitor the work of their patrol officers in the program, Speedway police commanders were not aware of the discrepancy until it was pointed out by the Partnership.
The partnership deferred to Campbell's authority when it came to disciplining his officer and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry's office refused to charge Clupper with theft.
"He actually made arrests during this period, too," said Bates, "so it was actually just a ticket issue. So really it was just more of a performance issue there was no criminal charges involved in it.
"I know there was discipline involved and the officer was removed from any future partnership grant work. He's not allowed to do that anymore."
Bates said that while the program has been an overall success, Clupper's falsification was discovered only through a "random" audit.