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Robles Fired From Hartford Police Department

By Jenna Carlesso

November 01, 2010

One day before the midterm election, city police officer and incumbent state Rep. Hector Robles, who was accused in August of fabricating time cards to show he was on duty while working private jobs, was fired from the Hartford Police Department.

The termination came after three days of testimony in an internal affairs hearing involving Robles. The police department's hearing concluded on Oct. 19.

Robles, a state representative for the 6th House District, was found to be in violation of several articles of the Hartford Police Department Code of Conduct, including conduct unbecoming an employee, knowingly or willfully making a false entry in a department record and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations, oral or written.

"This is a flagrant violation of our code of conduct and public trust and such behavior cannot and will not be tolerated," Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said in a statement. Roberts could not be reached for further comment.

Reached by phone Monday, Robles said he plans to appear at the polls Tuesday and is "still feeling good" heading into the election, but referred further comment to his attorney, R. Bartley Halloran.

"It happened the day before the election, which is obviously a blatantly political move," Halloran said Monday. "It's just a shame that we couldn't have a fairer process. We intend to exercise our right to appeal."

Robles has no plans to resign from the legislator or the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, Halloran said.

Halloran criticized Roberts for his role in the investigation and eventual termination.

"It's a situation where the person who wants you fired is leading the investigation, and I think people can see that," he said. "This is not a final decision by any stretch of the imagination. It's a setback."

Roberts last year ordered the department's internal affairs division to investigate alleged improper documentation in Robles' weekly time cards and the conflicts between Robles' regular work schedule, private duty jobs and overtime hours.

The investigation stemmed from a police captain's review of the Hartbeat dispatch log system, which records officers' activities during their shifts.

Robles, a 15-year police veteran, was not online with the Hartford Police Dispatch Center during some of his shifts, and his activities during the shifts in which he was signed on failed to reflect his response to calls for service or self-initiated activities, an internal affairs report states.

The report detailed numerous occasions in which Robles wrote on his time card that he worked a regular shift when in fact he was working a private job, collecting an identical amount to his hourly pay. Robles allegedly worked private jobs for Connecticut Natural Gas, the Metropolitan District Commission, Flow Assessment Construction Co. and Seaboard Drilling Assessment Construction Co.

In total, Robles cheated the department out of about 360 hours of work for $9,223.56 between Aug. 1, 2008, and Oct. 10, 2009, according to the report.

The report has been forwarded to the Chief State's Attorney's Office, which is investigating the matter.

Janet Appellof, a spokeswoman for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee's 6th District in South Hartford, said town committee members continue to be frustrated with the matter.

The town committee and Democratic State Central Committee do not have the authority to remove Robles from his position.

"There is absolutely nothing we can do. He's endorsed, he's on the ballot and that's it," Appellof said.

"I hardly think $10,000 is worth all of this," she said. "It breaks my heart."

House Speaker Christopher Donovan did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

Robles, a freshman legislator, faces three certified write-in candidates -- two Democrats and a Republican -- in the election.

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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