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Corpus Christi Police Officer received an 80-hour suspension after multiple traffic accidents, including one where she was distracted by her cell phone. This disciplinary action follows evidence of a pattern of unsafe behavior and policy violations.
Corpus Christi Police Officer Suspended After Persistent Traffic Accidents
Corpus Christi Police Officer Nancy Ruedo recently received an 80-hour suspension, which was agreed upon on June 26, 2023. This disciplinary action was taken after a review and contemplation of the case by Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Markle on June 6, 2023. The disciplinary records regarding this incident were released to the public on October 16, 2023.
The suspension was imposed based on various allegations made against Officer Nancy Ruedo. These allegations, if proven true, would justify disciplinary action under the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Corpus Christi Police Officer in At-Fault Accident
One of the incidents that led to this suspension occurred on February 1, 2023. Officer Nancy Ruedo, while on duty and in uniform, was involved in a motor vehicle accident in a marked Police unit in the 3200 block of S. Staples. The Crash Report #C2300688 listed Officer Nancy Ruedo as the at-fault driver, and a review of available camera footage revealed that Officer Nancy Ruedo was using her personal cell phone at the time of the accident, not in hands-free mode.
A complaint was filed against Officer Nancy Ruedo by CCPD Lt. Javier Cantu, stating that Officer Nancy Ruedo failed to report her cell phone usage verbally or in her written employee statement completed on the night of the accident. This complaint initiated an Administrative Investigation as the alleged violations would go against CCPD Department Policy.
Corpus Christi Police Officers’ Driving Habits Reviewed
Following this accident, a review of Officer Nancy Ruedo’s driving history was conducted. It was discovered that this was her third at-fault accident and fourth overall accident since her hire with the Department in July 2020. This review aimed to determine if Officer Nancy Ruedo had a pattern of violating Department policy while operating a marked CCPD unit.
It is important to note that Officer Nancy Ruedo had previously faced disciplinary action for her prior at-fault accidents, including a Letter of Counseling and a Letter of Reprimand. Additionally, as a result of the February 1, 2023 accident, Officer Nancy Ruedo’s driving privileges were suspended for six months by the City’s Vehicle Accident Review Board (VARB) under the City Policy. This suspension was imposed as it was Officer Nancy Ruedo’s third at-fault accident within a three-year timeframe.
During the investigation, various pieces of evidence were gathered and reviewed. This included Body Worn Camera video/audio footage, Crash Data Reports, accident reports, employee statements, emails, and a sworn statement provided by Officer Nancy Ruedo to CCPD Internal Affairs.
The review of Officer Nancy Ruedo’s driving history uncovered additional incidents where she appeared to be using her personal cell phone, not in hands-free mode, while on duty and operating a marked CCPD unit. These incidents occurred on November 21, 2022; December 18, 2022; December 24, 2022; January 14, 2023; January 22, 2023; January 28, 2023; and February 13, 2023.
Officer Nancy Ruedo’s involvement in an on-duty accident on January 4, 2023 (C2300060) was also taken into consideration. Although she was not listed as the at-fault driver, her actions surrounding the accident were deemed unsafe and imprudent.
Corpus Christi Police Officer Not Initially Forthcoming
During the investigation, it was found that Officer Nancy Ruedo was not forthcoming at the scene or in her employee statement regarding her cell phone usage during the February 1, 2023, crash. Officer Nancy Ruedo made misleading statements, suggesting that the driver of the vehicle she hit stopped abruptly in front of her and she could not stop in time. However, video evidence showed that Officer Nancy Ruedo was looking down at her cell phone for an extended period before the collision. It was only upon further questioning by her chain of command that Officer Nancy Ruedo admitted to her cell phone use at the time of the collision.
In Officer Nancy Ruedo’s sworn statement to Internal Affairs, she acknowledged being the at-fault driver in the February 1, 2023, crash and admitted to using her cell phone in violation of Department Policy. She denied omitting relevant information in her verbal and written employee statement and claimed it was an oversight due to the hectic scene.
Officer Nancy Ruedo also acknowledged the seven additional instances where she was using her personal cell phone, not in hands-free mode, while on duty, in uniform, and operating a marked PD unit. These instances occurred on November 21, 2022; December 18, 2022; December 24, 2022; January 14, 2023; January 22, 2023; January 28, 2023; and February 13, 2023.
Corpus Christi Police Officer Explains a Previous Incident
Regarding the accident on January 4, 2023, Officer Nancy Ruedo explained that she was working overtime with Officer Bess and responded to an assault call. Although not dispatched to the call, Officer Nancy Ruedo proceeded in the direction of the call. Officer Nancy Ruedo added herself to the call when it escalated. Officer Nancy Ruedo claimed to have seen the car pull out in front of her and hit the brakes, but she still collided with it. Officer Nancy Ruedo admitted that the speed at the time of the crash was over 60 mph, in violation of policy, and that she should have activated her lights and siren in hindsight.
The Police Chief of Corpus Christi Decides to Suspend the Officer
Considering the aforementioned instances of misconduct, Chief Mike Markle found that Officer Nancy Ruedo did not conduct herself in a manner that represents the high standards of the Corpus Christi Police Department. Chief Mike Markle lost confidence in Officer Nancy Ruedo’s ability to safely and prudently operate her vehicle and ensure conformity with Department policies and procedures.
Officer Nancy Ruedo’s driving record and pattern, involving multiple accidents and the misuse of a cell phone while on duty, are unacceptable. These actions not only subject the City to unnecessary liability but also bring discredit upon the Department.
It is crucial for law enforcement officers to prioritize risk prevention, situational awareness, and sound judgment while operating motor vehicles. Officer Nancy Ruedo’s driving record and behavior fall significantly short of these expectations. Such repeated incidents, especially given her limited tenure with the Department, raise concerns about her ability to fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to her as an officer.
The City and Department policies aim to ensure public safety and the well-being of all City employees. Officer Nancy Ruedo’s demonstrated disregard for these policies, traffic rules, and regulations is troubling. Maintaining credibility as law enforcement officers demands compliance with the law and behaviors that promote public order and citizen safety.
Chief Mike Markle’s decision to suspend Officer Nancy Ruedo reflects the seriousness of her actions, their impact on public trust, and the need to uphold the highest standards within the Corpus Christi Police Department.
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