YPD officer Chance on leave, given ‘last chance’ in early April
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
Police, prosecutors and the law department remain tight-lipped about the latest investigation of Officer Phil Chance.
Chance’s personnel file shows four internal-affairs investigations since last year that led to a “last-chance agreement” wherein Chance agreed to abide by all department rules or be fired.
Police Chief Rod Foley confirmed that Chance, as of late last week, is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into a new matter.
Foley and Law Director Anthony Farris said they cannot discuss the details of the current investigation into Chance’s activities, but the four internal-affairs investigations have been made public.
The last-chance agreement with Chance was signed in early April and says the four incidents preceding the agreement could justify termination. Chance, in the agreement, agreed to comply with all police department and city work rules going forward.
The agreement details some specific conditions for Chance to follow.
The agreement calls for Chance to discontinue the use of a drug that could “negatively impact his ability to perform the essential functions of his job” and has not been approved by a city-selected medical review doctor.
Chance, who was suspended for 60 days in April, agreed to enter into a substance-abuse treatment program while on suspension and present monthly attendance sheets to the chief documenting his regular attendance at those meetings.
He also agreed to reduce his use of medications that affect his job and take a drug-screening test before returning to work.
Chance also was subjected to three drug-screening tests upon his return from the April suspension. He also can be made to take a monthly drug-screening test.
The four incidents leading to the last-chance agreement were a report that Chance failed to complete a crash report in November 2011; a report that Chance left his assigned duty post in December 2011; a complaint from a citizen that Chance did not dispatch an officer to her house for more than an hour after it was hit by gunfire and she believed the shooters were still outside; and a December 2011 report of several complaints involving declining job performance and safety concerns.
The December 2011 complaints led to a drug screening in January of this year. The screening showed a controlled substance in his system, but Chance later supplied doctor’s notes for three prescription drugs he was using.
Officers are required to report any use of prescribed controlled substances or narcotics to a commander. Chance was found to be in violation of the reporting requirement.
Chance, the investigation revealed, said he did not use the drugs while on duty, but was found to have the substance in his system the day of his drug screening in January. Chance was scheduled to do drug raids with the tactical response team on that day.
Chance made headlines in 2010 when he shot an 18-year-old male in the parking lot of a bar in the 900 block of Midlothian Boulevard while trying to control a large fight. The teen driver reportedly ran Chance down with a car just before the shooting.
Chance ultimately was cleared in the shooting. The teen driver pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business and driving under the influence.