Superior police officer keeps job, faces suspension after admitting to theftA Superior police officer won’t lose his job after admitting he stole more than $5,000 from fellow officers in the department.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
A Superior police officer won’t lose his job after admitting he stole more than $5,000 from fellow officers in the department.
The Superior Police and Fire Commission sustained the charges against Officer Kirk Babic, a 20-year veteran of the police department.
Babic was accused of theft and obstructing officers in their investigation of the theft.
However, the commission’s preliminary determination calls for a 60-day suspension, two-year last chance agreement, 480 hours voluntary police training and counseling through the city’s Human Resources Department.
The final decision must be submitted in writing to the commission secretary.
Babic admitted to stealing more than $5,000 from fellow officers through an account established for voluntary contributions to maintain and equip the law enforcement fitness center. Babic paid $5,087.22 in restitution when a police investigation revealed what he owed.
Attorney Rick Gondik, representing Babic, presented numerous cases in which officers did something out of character, in most cases resulting in criminal charges that didn’t lose their jobs despite the illegality of their actions.
Among them a police captain who admitted to drinking and driving when he was involved in a hit and run, an officer accused of an incident of road rage, an officer who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after a charge of domestic abuse fifth-degree was dismissed, and an officer found guilty of providing false statements in court 17 years ago. Then-Police Chief Doyle Barker had sought termination, but the commission opted for suspension and training.
“The commission gave me a second chance,” said Officer Erick Flood, who recently received a Meritorious Conduct Award after solving numerous vehicle break-ins on Wisconsin Point. Flood was one of several officers who said they could continue to work with Babic after the thefts were revealed; they could trust him again.
Gondik argued some instances were a bigger threat to public safety than the theft of money.
Police Chief Floyd Peters testified Friday that those incidents were isolated, while Babic’s infractions occurred several times between 2004 and 2011.
Attorney Jim Korom, representing the city, told the commission taxpayers would be befuddled by a decision that didn’t include termination after six other city employees either resigned or were terminated after stealing money. In one case, public money was not involved.
“Now we got a Police and Fire Commission that says a guy who admits to felony theft can still carry a gun and a badge, Korom said.
Gondik challenged the notion that felony theft charges would be upheld in court. Babic has been charged with felony theft in Douglas County Circuit Court, but won’t make an initial appearance on the allegation until Nov. 16.