Texas officer fired over soda theft


STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

A Haltom City patrol sergeant has been fired and two detectives disciplined for taking soft drinks out of a refrigerator in a Fort Worth house during the execution of a search warrant, authorities said Tuesday.

Two other detectives who witnessed the theft received written reprimands for failing to report the incident, police said.

"These police officers are human, but we don't have the luxury of making these type of mistakes," Haltom City Police Chief Ken Burton said Tuesday. "All that I'm trying to do is make the best decisions for the department."

Haltom City Mayor Calvin White commended Burton for how he handled the case. "Things will happen, and a responsible organization takes actions to handle those situations," White said.

Sgt. Dennis Ochs was fired this month after an internal police investigation determined that he had taken a soft drink in September. In all, three drinks were taken from the Fort Worth house during a sexual assault investigation, police said.

The investigation also concluded that detectives Josh Boyd and Roger Dale took drinks from the refrigerator.

Boyd received a 15-day suspension and Dale was given a 10-day suspension for his involvement, police said. The officers have not completed all of their suspensions, Haltom City Detective Terry Stayer said.

The officers could not be reached Tuesday, but Ochs and Boyd have filed appeals with the city's Civil Service Commission, according to city records.

The case has been turned over to Fort Worth police for consideration of criminal charges, Stayer said. Fort Worth police could not be reached to comment on the case Tuesday.

The soft drink theft occurred in early September, several days after Haltom City police arrested Gene Anthony Quick near his Fort Worth home on Aug. 30 on suspicion of sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy.

Haltom City police returned to Quick's house a few days later to serve a search warrant in hopes of gathering more evidence. Quick, who owns Gene Quick Motor Sports in Haltom City, is accused of molesting the 15-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy at his business. He has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and is awaiting trial.

Haltom City police began an internal investigation about the soda thefts in late September, after a detective at the house reported what he had seen. The investigation was concluded Nov. 4.

In addition to the suspensions, police officials issued written reprimands against Detectives Joe Earney and Jennie Tyree, who failed to report the incident.

 Fort Worth Star Telegram (http://www.star-telegram.com/)


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