Defenders investigate Gibraltar officer charging city for hours he didn't work
Residents demand answers in case of workplace misconduct, wasted tax dollars
GIBRALTAR – The Local 4 Defenders investigated reports of workplace misconduct in Gibraltar after receiving tips about a police officer charging taxpayers for hours he didn't actually work.
Gibraltar is a small downriver city that sits on the Detroit River and Lake Erie. It's normally a quiet city, but recently residents have been talking about issues in the police department.
Local 4 received a tip that an officer was charging the city for hours when he wasn't working.
"Everybody should be held accountable," one resident said.
"You've got to put in the work to get the money," another resident said. "I think it's wrong in any occupation that you're doing that type of thing."
Insiders at the police department told Local 4 when they complained, their concerns fell on deaf eats.
"I think that's mismanagement," one person told Local 4. "Somebody should be monitoring."
The officer in question is Sgt. Steve McInchak. He's known as the chairman of the Police Labor Council -- a leader for other officers.
But after going through his time records and comparing them to video clips of him arriving and leaving work, the Local 4 Defenders discovered the tip was correct. McInchak was charging the city for hours he didn't work.
McInchak reported working eight hours one day in December, but video footage suggests he only worked four hours.
The following day, he again reported eight hours of work while video surveillance showed he worked just over three hours.
One day in April, McInchak wasn't dressed and ready for duty when a 911 call came in for a domestic situation, causing a delay in response, according to authorities.
"I feel like officers should be protecting, not stealing," one person told Local 4. "That makes me feel like police officers might not be doing their job."
But the issue in Gibraltar is bigger than just one officer. It's a culture of city leaders. The concern is why complaints from other officers doesn't lead to action.
Local 4's requests to interview the chief and mayor were denied.
Local 4 Defender Karen Drew showed up anyway at Gibraltar city headquarters with cameras rolling.
"What do you have to say about officers doing this?" Karen asked.
"Well, it's not correct, and he was disciplined for it," Chief Matt Lawyer said.
According to records, McInchak was suspended 30 days without pay for "a consistent pattern of poor decision-making."
"What do you say to taxpayers, because obviously they're paying for protection and these officers aren't showing up on the job?" Karen asked.
"Well, you know, I need to do a better job supervising," Lawyer said.
"This investigation took seven to eight months to make a decision?" Karen asked.
"It took longer than it probably should have," Lawyer said.
The question remains: If the Defenders could obtain the time records and the video tape of the work infractions, what took the chief so long to react?
"I find it ironic that the suspension comes at the time we're investigating the officer, but nothing happened beforehand," Karen said to City Administrator Tim McLean.
"I can't speak to what happened or didn't happen before I was with the city," McLean said. "All I can tell you is since I've been on the job we've been looking into the matter and we have responded accordingly."
"Taxpayers pay for service and this officer wasn't serving the community," Karen said. "What's the message to those taxpayers?"
"We're committed to providing a high level of service for our residents, and if there are wrongdoings going on, violations, we are certainly going to investigate them, get to the bottom of it and respond accordingly," McLean said.
McInchak is appealing his suspension and was not willing to talk on camera about the case.
Copyright 2019 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.