Copyright 2006 The Columbus Dispatch
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By BRUCE CADWALLADER
The Columbus Dispatch
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Classes in psychology and criminology that could help homicide detectives do their jobs actually tripped up two Columbus police veterans who pleaded guilty yesterday to lying on their time sheets.
Christopher Rond, 36, and Brian Carney, 43, resigned Sunday from the force and surrendered their peace-officer certifications. Neither will be able to work as an officer again.
As part of a plea bargain, both pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsification for submitting false statements seeking tuition reimbursement. They must reimburse the city and pay a $500 fine, Municipal Court Judge Ted Barrows ordered.
Both have applied for diversion from a felony theft count. Diversion means that the charge will not appear on their records as long as they pay restitution, perform community service and meet with a probation officer once a week for the next year. If they comply, the theft charge will be dismissed.
Police supervisors, while acknowledging their years of service as homicide detectives, wanted the two officers fired, attorneys for both men said.
"Even the governor didn't have to give up his job," said defense attorney Mark C. Collins, who represented Carney. "It's a sad day, and it's a loss for the Columbus police department."
Rond's attorney, Robert Washburn, said the city could have handled the case differently.
"It should be noted that they attended these courses and completed these courses to make them better detectives," he said.
Both men have been with the Police Division for 14 years. Both earned annual salaries of $57,421, and both ranked high on last year's list of top overtime earners on the city payroll — Rond with $27,254 and Carney with $25,695.
Rond was accused of attending courses at least 18 times while on duty between January 2002 and June 2005 and owes $10,251 to the city. He falsified nine applications for reimbursement.
Carney was accused of falsifying four applications and must repay $7,265 for classes he took between January 2003 and last August.
Homicide cases under investigation by Rond and Carney have been reassigned to other detectives after they were suspended in July, said police spokeswoman Betty Schwab.
None of the cases investigated by the pair is in jeopardy because of their plea yesterday, Washburn said.
The city, as both the victim and the investigating agency, agreed to the plea and diversion program as long as the men's careers were ended, said Barb Seckler, assistant safety director.
Their resignations dropped the number of homicide detectives to 28, Schwab said.
Carney was working toward a psychology degree at Capital University, and Rond was taking courses in psychology and criminology there. Their classes overlapped on Tuesdays, when both were assigned to police work, Collins said.
"I thank you for your previous service to the community," Barrows told the men in court. "I'm extremely sorry to find you in this situation. Maybe you will come out the other end of this more focused."
Rond said he intends to continue school and possibly study physical therapy.
"Careers and reputations can be rebuilt," he said.
Carney said he has no immediate plans.
Ohio detectives plead guilty after taking classes while on duty