By Ed Runyan
A Warren police sergeant who agreed to a three-month suspension without pay three years ago for attending and coaching youth basketball games on city time has been disciplined again.
Emanuel Nites received a one-day suspension recently for attending a get-together at a fellow officer’s house Aug. 27 while on duty.
He also faces possible additional discipline on a finding by the police department’s internal affairs officer, Lt. Dan Mason, that Nites lied when questioned by Mason regarding what Nites did at the get-together.
A Sept. 21 memo from Mason says Nites initially told Mason that for an unspecified period of time between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 27, Nites stopped at a fellow officer’s house to eat during a fantasy football draft. The fellow officer was off duty.
Nites told Mason he didn’t know what time he left the residence but he had arrived around 7 p.m., left to answer a call for service, then came back and ate dinner.
Those actions constituted conducting private business on duty and failure to follow police department policies, the memo said, and Police Chief Tim Bowers issued the one-day suspension without pay.
In a Nov. 1 memo, Mason wrote that the city’s human-resources director, Brian Massucci, notified Bowers that another officer who attended the get-together had given a written statement indicating that Nites had participated in the fantasy football draft at the get- together.
Mason’s memo says Nites specifically told Mason, during Mason’s investigation, that Nites didn’t participate in the fantasy football draft. But Mason determined that Nites “does in fact have a fantasy football team in the league and was present for the draft.”
“I never done a fantasy football, I don’t know how to do it. I stopped there. I ate,” Mason’s memo quotes Nites saying during the initial investigation.
The Nov. 1 memo says Nites violated departmental policy while giving the statement. It requires officers to be “truthful at all times, whether under oath or not, when conducting any official police business.”
Nites appealed the one-day suspension, but Service-Safety Director Enzo Cantalamessa upheld the decision. Nites can still appeal to an arbiter.
A hearing took place last week on the lying complaint, but Bowers said Monday he has sent the investigation back to Mason for further inquiry based on questions that were raised during the hearing.
In September 2009, Nites agreed that he had missed work on 14 dates while getting paid because he was coaching his son’s basketball team or watching his daughter’s high school basketball team.
In all, he missed 22 hours of work for which he was paid $831. He repaid the $831 and agreed to a last-chance agreement with the city that said Nites could be fired with limited appeal rights if he had any serious employment violations over the ensuing two years, ending in September 2011.
Three of Nites’ supervisors also were disciplined in the time-card matter for falsifying time sheets for Nites.
Mason was among those supervisors.