Defenders' hidden cameras catch Riverview police officer leaving work whenever she wants
Officer Suzanna Laramie working short days after injury
RIVERVIEW, Mich. – A Local 4 Defenders investigation into an employee's whereabouts during the workday has led to an internal investigation and immediate changes at a Metro Detroit police department.
The police chief and city manager in Riverview said officials are deeply concerned about what the Defenders caught on tape during a three-month hidden camera investigation.
Local 4 received a phone call from inside the Riverview City Hall that morale was down because while everyone else has to put in a full day's work, one police officer got to come and go as she pleased. They asked the Defenders to bring out the hidden cameras.
Riverview has a population of 12,000 people. It's a town where neighbors know each other by name and police know every corner of the community's 4 1/2 square miles.
There are only 22 sworn police officers, and Suzanna Laramie used to be one of them, until an injury took her off the road.
Now Laramie is on a patrolman's contract with the title of police support services. While everyone else parks in the restricted police parking lot, she parks by the Recreation Department. City workers said it's so she can sneak in and out of the building while on the clock. That's where the Defenders found her with cameras rolling.
The veteran officer told Local 4 she gets a lunch break and runs evidence or paperwork to Northville and Detroit for police business. She makes $67,000 a year to work 40 hours per week, but people inside City Hall said taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth.
Her hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. She gets a one-hour lunch break. On eight separate days over a three-month period, Local 4 did what City Hall insiders asked: follow her.
On a Tuesday in November, Laramie arrived at work a half-hour late. She put in an hour and 45 minutes and went back out the door. She got in her personal truck to head home.
"Do you think it's fair that you take off so much and the rest of the officers have to work full days?" she was asked.
"I don't do that," Laramie said. "I don't know what you are talking about."
Local 4 watched and waited, and three hours and 10 minutes later, she returned in her truck and went back to work. Those paying her salary don't like the looks of it.
"If they are getting paid with taxpayers' dollars, then that is what they should be doing," taxpayer Mike Walsh said. "Not sitting at home."
Laramie doesn't stay at the station long. After 20 minutes, she left again. She returned 50 minutes later and put in another hour and 15 minutes before calling it a day. Her total time at the station was 3 1/2 hours.
"That's not right," taxpayer Danny said. "That's absolutely not right. If you or I did something like that we wouldn't have a job."
The following Wednesday, it was the same story. Laramie came and went with a three-hour break in the middle of the day. Her total time at the office was four hours.
On a Tuesday in December, Laramie was at home at 10:30 a.m. She went to work for 90 minutes and left to return home. She stayed there for 3 1/2 hours during the break. She worked for a total of 3 1/2 hours at the office.
Three other days in December showed a similar routine. Laramie arrived and left, sometimes carrying bags and boxes, sometimes running to the bank or convenience stores. Some of her stops might have been on police business, but insiders told the Defenders she isn't pulling her weight.
On those three days, she spent 3 1/2 hours at the station twice and 2 /12 hours once.
"You're never here more than a half-day," the Defenders told Laramie.
"That's not true," Laramie said. "I go to Northville for the detectives. I do all kinds of things."
The Defenders returned after the new year and found more of the same.
On a Wednesday in January, Laramie left work at 11:30 a.m. She ran errands and returned at 12:40 p.m. By 1 p.m., she was gone again before returning at 1:50 p.m. At 2:07 p.m., she called it a day for good. On her schedule she was only paid until 3 p.m.
The chief of police is concerned.
"If you're out of bounds, and if you're not there for a legitimate reason, then there are answers for that in terms of discipline," Chief Clifford Rosebohm said.
The city manager said while city officials received no written complaints about Laramie, they want taxpayers to know they take this very seriously.
"We are going to be on top of this," City Manager Douglas Drysdale said. "We are looking into it and seeing what is really happening out there, and we are reminding employees that that's not what we expect. Taxpayers can expect to see us going our jobs."
There will be an internal investigation. Immediately, Laramie must park in the police lot and can only use a city car when on police business. Her personal car is now strictly for lunch breaks.
If you have a story for the Local 4 Defenders, call the hotline at 313-222-0691.
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