Texas 'soda theft' sergeant reinstated with demotion


The city's Civil Service Commission has decided to reinstate but demote a patrol sergeant who was fired for taking a soda out of a refrigerator while serving a search warrant in a Fort Worth house in September.

Dennis Ochs was fired in November after an internal police investigation determined that he and Detectives Josh Boyd and Roger Dale had taken soft drinks. Boyd was suspended for 15 days and Dale for 10.

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

After an appeal, Ochs' punishment was modified to a 15-day unpaid suspension and he was demoted from sergeant to police officer, Haltom City Detective Terry Stayer said in a release issued Friday.

Ochs declined to comment about the ruling Sunday. He deferred comment to his attorney, Chris Barrett of Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, a statewide advocacy group for police officers.

"We always thought the discipline by the chief was excessive, and that's what this ruling demonstrates," Barrett said Sunday. "He [Ochs] has 26 years in law enforcement and this ruling will allow him to do what he wants to do -- get back to the community. He has a lot to give."

Barrett said that his client had not started serving his suspension.

Boyd could not be reached for comment.

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

Haltom City police returned to Quick's house to serve a search warrant in hopes of gathering more evidence.

Quick is accused of molesting the 15-year-old and a 13-year-old boy at his business, Gene Quick Motor Sports in Haltom City. He is awaiting trial on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

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

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