Cape police officer resigns following investigation
A Cape Coral police officer resigned Wednesday after an investigation revealed he had accepted nearly $4,000 in incentive pay that he was not entitled to.
Officer Albert Arroyo submitted his resignation, effective immediately, and requested that the city deduct the amount he had accepted from his final paycheck. A school resource officer with the Investigative Services Bureau, Arroyo had been employed at the Cape police department since June 2006.
According to Connie Barron, police spokeswoman, Arroyo’s annual salary was approximately $51,000.
An internal affairs investigation was initiated in June after another Cape police officer reported that Arroyo was wrongfully receiving academic incentive pay, according to the report. The investigation found that Arroyo had taken $3,820 in academic incentive from July 7, 2006, to June 25, 2010.
Arroyo was found in violation of “engaging in any conduct on or off duty which adversely affects the morale and efficiency of the department or which has a tendency to destroy public respect or confidence in the department or himself.”
He was not found in violation of knowingly making false statements or intentionally misrepresenting the facts due to insufficient evidence.
According to the report, the reporting officer learned in 2007 that Arroyo was getting $80 for academic incentive after seeing Arroyo’s pay stub. He questioned Arroyo, who allegedly stated that he knew he was receiving the incentive wrongfully but would “get with someone to rectify the situation.”
In June 2010, the officer looked over Arroyo’s payroll check again and observed that Arroyo was still getting the academic incentive. Aware that Arroyo did not have a college degree, the officer reported the situation.
The internal investigation found that on June 6, 2006, a clerical error was made on Arroyo’s profile sheet to reflect that his education was a master’s degree. On April 26, 2007, he received academic incentive monies of $800 that was a retroactive payment from July 2006 for having a college degree.
Every month from May 2007 until June 2010, Arroyo received $80 of extra academic incentive pay for having a degree. The monies totaled the $3,820. It was confirmed Arroyo does not have a degree or college credit through an accredited college of university, only one 80-hour block of advanced training.
“I wish the clerical error would have never happened but yeah I probably should have inquired about it,” Arroyo stated to investigators. “And I, I assumed that it was for something else so.”
Arroyo allegedly told one supervising officer that he thought the extra money was for previous law enforcement experience, while telling another supervising officer that he believed the incentive was for taking classes while he was employed with the Cape department.
According to the report, Arroyo explained “that he believed that he was confused by the question and believed that the two are related. Officer Arroyo explained that he thought his prior experience and the classes he took both in New York and Florida are all considered academic.”
On July 28, interim Police Chief Jay Murphy notified Arroyo that he intended to take disciplinary action up to and including suspension or termination. The action was to be based on the sustained violation, as well as any “actions or conduct detrimental to the interests of the city” and “any other properly substantiated cause which adversely affects the city.”