A former homicide investigator at the Chattanooga Police Department was suspended this week for 160 hours without pay after a disciplinary hearing into allegations of missing evidence and improper use of overtime.
Police Chief David Roddy sustained the following allegations against officer Cameka Bruce on Wednesday after an internal affairs investigation: insubordination, filing false reports, misrepresentation, improper procedure for overtime submittal and missing property/evidence.
As a result, Bruce, a 10-year veteran of the department, entered into a last-chance agreement. Though the terms of that agreement were unavailable Friday, a last-chance agreement typically puts an officer on notice that future misconduct could result in immediate demotion or termination.
It's unclear what sparked Bruce's internal affairs case, or whether the sustained allegations, particularly the missing property or evidence, could affect any work on pending cases or unsolved homicides in Chattanooga.
The Chattanooga Office of Open Records said it could release only five files Thursday while it prepares and redacts Bruce's investigative file. It's not uncommon for officials to remove sensitive pieces of information from a report, like a suspect's name in an ongoing investigation, or a victim's birthdate and contact information. While the released files confirm Bruce's punishment and charges, they are not investigative notes or summarized interviews that explain what happened.
Police spokeswoman Elisa Myzal said she could not comment on the facts of the case Friday but confirmed the investigation into Bruce began in 2017. Myzal said the 160-hour suspension will be observed in 10-hour shifts, which is the amount of time a patrol officer is regularly on duty. Internal affairs investigations can be launched off citizen complaints or from department officers.
Bruce started with the department in September 2008, worked in the homicide unit and was transferred to patrol in December 2017, Myzal said. Another investigator in the homicide unit took over her cases when she transferred.
Janie Parks Varnell, one of Bruce's attorneys, declined to comment Friday since the city hasn't released the full internal affairs report.
City records show Bruce's current yearly salary is $44,168.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.