Three former CPD officers plead guilty to dereliction of duty, 17 others investigation is ongoing


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Three former Columbus Division of Police officers pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty charges from 2020.

A special investigation was launched into these three men and 17 others for what is commonly called “double-dipping.” In court records, each person was said to have double-dipped either on CPD or his special assignment employer.

CPD Chief Elaine Bryant released this statement about the former officers and the guilt they have admitted.

I am disappointed in the actions of these now-former officers. They failed to live up to the standards of this division and the oath they swore to our city. We are in positions of authority and trust, and we can never forget that.  The moment division leadership learned of this concern, swift and appropriate action was taken. These officers were thoroughly investigated and referred for prosecution.  When our officers do the right thing, I will support them one hundred percent. When they fail to live up to our standards of excellence, they will be held accountable.

Chief Elaine Bryant

The following are excerpts from court documents from investigators into which each former officer has pleaded guilty. You can read the whole document here:

Former officer Joseph Townsend

“The task force revealed many unaccounted for hours from January through November of 2020 due to Townsend often arriving late or leaving early from his assignment prior to school closure. Townsend visited his home and special duty sites during shifts. Additionally, Townsend regularly took one or two hour lunches while on duty.”

Affidavit in support of Probable Cause

Former officer Robert Thissen

“The investigation further revealed that Thissen engaged in a practice commonly called “double-dipping,” wherein he was paid by his CPD salary while simultaneously working special duty for a private employer. Specifically, the investigation found the Thissen’s hours with CPD and Kroger overlapped in March, April, June, July, August and September of 2020.”

Affidavit in support of Probable Cause

Former officer William McCague

“During the investigation, it was also discovered that McCague misreported his hour to special duty employer Germain Car. In April, May, June July, August, September and October, McCague was found to have been paid by Germain for more hours than he worked.

Affidavit in support of Probable Cause

According to CPD spokesperson, there are currently 17 other officers under active administrative investigation for “double-dipping.” No other officers have been charged. Since this issue came to light, supervision has been tightened and random audits have been instituted. No similar problems have been discovered since these changes were implemented.

NBC4 reached out to CPD to learn if they resigned or were terminated. The spokesperson could only confirm the officers are no longer in the department.

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