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San Marcos Police Department Releases 2022 Disciplinary Records
On January 31, 2023, we requested the 2022 disciplinary records for the San Marcos Police Department. We received them a short time later. Within the file we have received five releasable actions from the San Marcos Police Department. One of the five actions was for a non-civil service employee and was a written reprimand. That action is omitted from our publishing.
What is a Releasable Disciplinary Record for Civil Service Police Officers?
Many municipal law enforcement officers in Texas are protected by the Municipal Civil Service for Firefighters and Police Officers statute in the Local Government Code under Chapter 143. This code identifies what is considered discipline for civil service officers.
In cases in which a police department investigates a police officer’s misconduct and takes disciplinary action against an officer, it is required by section 143.089(a)(2) to place all investigatory records relating to the investigation and disciplinary action, including background documents such as complaints, witness statements, and documents of like nature from individuals who were not in a supervisory capacity, in the police officer’s civil service file maintained under section 143.089(a). Abbott v. City of Corpus Christi, 109 S.W.3d 113, 122 (Tex. App.–Austin 2003, no pet.). All investigatory materials in a case resulting in disciplinary action are “from the employing department” when they are held by or in possession of the department because of its investigation into a police officer’s misconduct, and the department must forward them to the civil service commission for placement in the civil service personnel file. Id. Such records are subject to release under chapter 552 of the Government Code. See Local Gov’t Code § 143.089(f); Open Records Decision No. 562 at 6 (1990).Texas Attorney General, OR2009-00790
So, if a City, such as San Marcos, is covered under Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code, it can only release documented suspension actions for the covered employees.
A suspension action has many forms: It could be a “paper suspension,” where it has the same effect as a suspension in the disciplinary process; It could be an actual suspension, where the officer is off duty for a specific period of time; or, It can also be a suspension where days of leave and time off are given up in exchange for being out of work.
There are various reasons these practices are common with employers.
San Marcos Police Department Commander Suspended Over Claims of Sexual Harassment
On Wednesday, March30,2022, [Commander Rich Mizanin] sent sexually-offensive text message(s) as well as music videos to [redacted person] assigned departmental cell phone. The first, unsolicited text was sent at 8:27 pm and said,”You are sexy AF [as f[**]k].” [Mizanin] continued sending text messages until 11:38 pm on the same date, when [redacted name] responded:
“Always. Also no response bc: 1 – this is my work phone. 2 – there’s more work to do then hours to do it. 3- keep it appropriate Mizanin.”
[Mizanin] responded, “T4. Apologize,” and “I wil delete the stupidity of inappropriate behavior. No excuse.” [Mizanin] continued,” I will report myself to the ACO [Assistant Chief of Police] to advise I foolishly made a mistake on my part only.” Only minutes later, at 12:01 on March 31st, [Mizanin] started texting [redacted name] personal cell phone. [Mizanin] stated, “I will receive the necessary
punishment I deserve.” She responded, “Apology accepted. Report to whomever if you want but I’m not. You’re a great friend who I have an abundance of respect for so please don’t do it again
and we’re good.” [Mizanin’s] text messages continued, however, in a manner described as ‘rapid fire’, as shown:
“No. I stupidly talked. It will not be forgiven.”
“That’s my problem. Not yours. I apologize”
“I appreciate you taking care of me. Thank you”
” I do not operate at your level of intelligence. I appreciate your grace; and again apologize for stupidity”
“I will follow your orders.”
“My behavior is unacceptable and I appreciate your correction.”
On Saturday, April 2n, the rapid-fire texts continued to [redacted name] personal cell phone:
“Hey. Venting” “No worries.” “Such a mess” “Basically broke” . . [several texts that are not transcribed on this notice and order, for brevity’s purpose] “No af [as f[**]k] talk” “So self destruction. Lol”
[redacted name] responded, “Hey – you need to self report like you said you would on Wednesday. This is not for me but for you. For whatever reason – you need accountability. You’re better than this. Stop it. Stop now. Be better. Don’t let me down.” [Mizanin] responded by sending her another 10 text messages.
[redacted name] notified [supervisor] of these policy violations, which resulted in a Personnel Complaint Intake Form that alleged five policy violations, including Sexual Harassment. [Mizanin] received a copy of this complaint on April 19, 2022, and [Mizanin] signed the document indicating that [Mizanin] understood a Class 1 investigation had begun.
Investigators met with [redacted name] on Thursday, May 26, 2022. While doing so, [redacted name] indicated she told [supervisor] about the text messages, but that she felt “traitorous.” Yet, a few minutes later according to her, [Mizanin] reportedly asked her to come into [his] office after an Event Review Board had concluded. [Mizanin] reportedly apologized again to her, but then according to her [Mizanin] said, “Okay, but you are a very sexy woman.” During [Mizanin’s] Loudermill hearing, [Mizanin] recalled saying, “I recall saying but you are.” [Mizanin] did not admit to saying that she was sexy, but instead, “but you are.” Going back to [Mizanin’s] initial text message that resulted in this investigation; [Mizanin] texted and said, “You are sexy AF.” It can be interpreted that [Mizanin] w[as] relaying this statement yet again to [redacted name] although without including “AF.” In her interview with the investigators, [redacted name] said she thought to herself, Did [Mizanin] not think I was serious, are [he] testing the perimeter fences, like a fucking velociraptor?”
During their investigation, investigators also learned that [Mizanin] had sent unwelcomed, offensive text messages and music videos to another employee. On February 13, 2022, [Mizanin] began texting [redacted name] on her personal cell phone. The first messages concerned the issue of whether [Mizanin was] texting her on her work or personal cell. Once [Mizanin] confirmed it was her personal cell number, [Mizanin] texted, among other things:
“But I’m 45;”
More texts were exchanged that are not recorded, exceeding ten or more.
“No chasing you. So you are good”
“Exactly you did one of the best backgrounds we have read.”
“If you have time you should be assigned more off the next list”
“I will stop.”
Yet, [Mizanin] did not stop, but sent another five text messages before stating, “Tell me to stop!” The texts continued, including “I wish you’d talk to me about whatever”
“Without a preconceived notion”
[redacted name] responded. “Preconceived notion? About what?”
[Mizanin] responded, ” I don’t believe you are interested; I enjoy talking to you.” “My old stories lol; not a focus”
“I’d enjoy a friendship and of course a vent with a trusted friend” “So zero stress that I’m scamming on you. But you know you are attractive. “You are attractive”
She responded, “I appreciate that. That’s nice of you to say. I have to go. Got a call but you get some rest and enjoy your night!”
[Mizanin] responded, “Yes; hopefully no offense”
“I’m sorry ifso.:: the struggle is real!”
[Mizanin] then sent her another 14 unsolicited text messages, and finally finished with, “You want to be attractive and you are”
On February 14, 2022; you again started texting [redacted name] stating “I am so sorry I made a complete a[**] of myself. Please forgive my stupidity; I will not let this happen again and I apologize.” Yet, [Mizanin] continued to send text messages. One message stated,” Com if you ever get bored.” This can be interpreted in a sexually-offensive manner, so [redacted name] replied , “?” and [Mizanin] replied with two messages: “Goodness text whenever; “com” if not busy silly” and “Communicate a Army term lol.” Finally, on April 8, 2022, [Mizanin] texted her, “Can you call?” “It’s like job serious.” She replied,”Sure,”and [Mizanin] continued, “Basically I’m under HR/IA. I apologize for being wrong.” “He asked if I ever texted a PD female and I refused to answer.” [Mizanin’s] final text on that date said, “Divorced and lonely is my fault. Lol.” On Saturday, April 9, 2022. [redacted name] replied, “Can you please stop messaging me.”
During [Mizanin’s] Loudermill hearing, [supervisor] asked if [Mizanin] believed [his] messages to [redacted name] constituted sexting. [Mizanin] responded, “I’d have to you know look up. Sure I guess I don’t really I don’t have a good answer for that Chief.”
On Monday, June 6, 2022, the investigators met with [redacted name] During their investigation, they learned that she had gone to her immediate supervisor, Corporal Joe Osbourne, to report these issues. In that conversation [redacted name] recalled telling a friend, “Oh my god the Commander won’t leave me alone. I think the Commander is drunk and he’s just not getting the jist.” [redacted name] continued telling her supervisor, “Ultimately Sexual Harassment is unwanted advances. I wanted to make a formal complaint for the Sexual Harassment aspect, as well as the IA violation and the concern for his mental health. If he had done it to me, he may have done it to someone else.”Notice and Order of Temporary Suspension and Last Change Agreement, Dated August 30, 2022, from Stan Standridge, Police Chief
Commander Rich Mizanin was issued a fifteen (15) day suspension and a last chance agreement.
San Marcos Police Department Corporal Suspended for Racial Slurs
The investigation revealed offensive, racially-motivated slurs that were made in conversation with another San Marcos Police Department employee. She alleged that [Corporal John Cope and her] were discussing [Cope’s] previous police agency, which was located in Montana, whereupon [Cope] said, “There isn’t a lot of minorities.” [Cope] started laughing, and she responded by saying, “It is not funny.” [Cope] made yet another racial slur when [he] then said, “The food sucks though because there’s no minorities.”
During the internal investigation, [Cope was] given a change to respond to these allegations. [Cope] admitted to making the statement that there were no minorities in Montana, per Investigator Garner Ames (Dated 6/2/2022, page 7, Investigative Summary). [Cope] then described the coworker’s demeanor as “uncomfortable”. [Cope} then did not recall making a second comment to the coworker. When asked why [Cope] made any reference to minorities in Montana, [he] said the comments were directed at inner city violence and that they did not have “big cities up there” (Dated 6/2/2-22, page 7, Investigative Summary).
On June 17, 2022, [Cope was] afforded a Loudermill hearing. During this hearing, [Cope] agreed that [his] actions violated policies. [Cope] specifically stated, “First of all, I was wrong. I’m not going to sugarcoat that in any form or fashion. I own it. It was insensitive of me” (Dated 6/17/2022, Loudermill transcript, page 1). [Cope] continued, ” .. .I would like to be given an opportunity to apologize to the reporting party, um, if and when I have an opportunity to do so” (Loudermill, page 1).
During [Cope’s] Loudermill hearing, [supervisor] asked if [Cope] recalled making this statement during a VITAL meeting on March 3, 2022: “Females shouldn’t be cops; cops shouldn’t be females.” [Cope] responded with, “Did I make that statement? I can’t comment on… um, I’m frustrated … with regards to the entry standard… with me making that statement, there is no denying the standard is lower for women than it is for men. That is a personal feeling for me, and I probably should not have said anything.” [Cope]continued,”… I don’t know if you misheard what I said, but I absolutely never have said that. I’ve said that females, I don’t believe that females should have a lower standard than males, and I think that everything should be even Steven” (Loudermill, page 5). Later in the Loudermill hearing, [Cope was] asked again about the second comment that [he] reportedly made to [his] coworker. [Cope] then remembered making the comment, stating “I didn’t recall making that statement, but when reviewing this I do recall making that statement. Um, I’m from South Austin.. .I like cultural food, and in Montana because it’s, I was actually saying good things… but if you wanna get Mexican food in Montana, your good Mexican food, you know there’s not a lot of it up there… the demographic is not there to support … those dietary pleasures” (pages 11-12).Notice and Order of Temporary Suspension and Last Change Agreement, Dated July 12, 2022, from Stan Standridge, Police Chief
Corporal John Cope was given a five (5) day suspension where he agreed to forfeit 40 hours of earnings through vacation and holiday pay. He as also placed on a last chance agreement.
San Marcos Police Department Police Officer Suspended for Use of Force
The ERB reviewed your uses of force related to case numbers 21-59316 and 21-74827. They determined there were policy violations and recommended disciplinary action related to 21-74827, which occurred on December 19, 2021. They also recommended counseling regarding 21-59316, which occurred October 5, 2021.
Regarding 21-59316 on October 5, 2021, [Police Officer Jordan Perkins was] dispatched to 811 S. Guadalupe Street for a disturbance. Call notes indicated there were three people involved, a knife and a
long pipe and a metal bar were possible weapons involved, and “The weapon is in suspect’s possession”. Upon arrival, [Perkins] identified an involved person, whom [he] knew from previous police encounters. In [Perkins’s] Loudermill , [he] said , ” He is always noncompliant. He always fights”. [Perkins] indicated that [he] had information provided by Dispatch that a knife was used against someone. Upon [Perkins] initial contact, the suspect was walking away from [Perkins] and ignoring [Perkins] commands. [Perkins] immediately used excessive profanity when initially confronting the suspect. When the suspect finally showed [Perkins] his hands, he discarded something by throwing it to his right side. Later investigation would determine that he discarded a flashlight. The suspect finally complied and laid down on the grass embankment. However, he laid on top of his hands and initially refused to show [Perkins] his hands. Believing he may still be armed with a knife, [Perkins] kept lethal cover while Officer Lobo attempted an arrest. However, in doing so, [Perkins] moved to the suspect and placed [Perkins’s] weapon against his neck/back of head while also using [Perkins] other hand to try and physically control the suspect. Officer Lobo had to tell [Perkins] to “put your gun up”. After searching the arrested party, a knife was removed from his person. The suspect was arrested and charged with multiple offenses.
Regarding 21-74827 that occurred on December 19, 2021, [Perkins was] dispatched to assist other officers with a burglary / home invasion. Someone was reportedly outside of an apartment, “slamming on [the] door”. Officer Lobo arrived on scene first and arrested the alleged suspect. [Perkins] and a trainee officer took control of the handcuffed(?)suspect for the purpose of escorting him outside and to a police unit. The suspect was intoxicated and verbally abusive. [Perkins] stated during [his] Loudermill hearing that while escorting him, [Perkins] believed he was “jerking away from Officer Poirier” While holding the suspect with [Perkins] right arm, [Perkins] struck the handcuffed suspect with [Perkins] left hand on his chin, causing him injury.Offer of Agreed Upon Definite Suspension; Alternatively, Notice of Indefinite Suspension, Dated March 7, 2022, From Stan Standridge, Police Chief
Police Officer Jordan Perkins was given a sixteen (16) day suspension where he agreed to forfeit earnings through vacation and holiday to avoid an indefinite suspension.
San Marcos Police Department Sergeant Indefinitely Suspended for Insubordination
Commander Tiffany Williams provided [supervisor] with a memorandum dated October8, 2021, in which she alleged policy violations. Specifically, she requested a formal investigation be conducted, after having ordered [Sergeant Ryan Hartman] to complete required offense reports and evaluations. [Hartman] disregarded these orders, necessitating her complaint. She cited, “Coaching and mentoring have been ineffective to date. Lesser forms of corrective action have not been successful. To the contrary, the quantity of outstanding tasks and assignments has increased.”
Commander Lee Leonard of the Office of Professional Conduct completed a personnel complaint intake form, thus notifying [Hartman] of alleged policy violations. The complaint was classified as a Class 1 complaint (section 6, related to insubordination and dereliction of duty), which is reserved for serious misconduct. Undisputed facts of the completed investigation includebut arenot limited to:
On October 5, 2021, [Hartman] received an order from Commander Tiffany Williams, directing [him] to compile a list of all outstanding evaluations and reports. This was after [Hartman] failed to obey her order to complete all delinquent six-month evaluations, as described below. [Hartman] responded to her email/order the following day, on October 6, 2021, at 12:15 am. [Hartman] listed six categories of missing reports andor evaluations.
[Hartman] received an order from Commander Williams to have [his] six-month officer evaluations completed by 7:00 AM on the morning of October 5, 2021. [Hartman] also received notices that they were past due from Sergeant Myers on July 14, and from Sheila Schuetz. on August 12′”, August 19, August 26*, and September 9, 2021. [Hartman] disregarded these orders and as of today [Hartman] still have not completed the evaluations.
Another delinquent report that [Hartman] disclosed in [his] email to Commander Williams included an Intoxication Manslaughter reference Case # 21-57458, which occurred on September 26, 2021. [Hartman] disclosed on October 6th that [he] had not done the supplement, yet [he] still did not complete it until October 11, 2021. This is a serious felony offense that warrants greater responsiveness.
[Hartman] failed to complete a supplement related to a murder investigation (21-14488). The homicide occurred on March 12, 2021. On August 16, 2021, [Hartman was] told to complete a supplemental report by the lead detective. [Hartman] failed to do so. [Hartman was] told again by the lead detective on September 28, 2021, so he could file the case with the District Attorney. [Hartman] disregarded these communications and did not complete the assigned task until October 1, 2021. This involved a public safety matter of the highest importance (murder), yet [Hartman] delayed the case filing for one month and 25 days from August 16, 2021.
An officer involved shooting investigation occurred on April 10, 2021. In the same email to Commander Williams on October 6, 2021, [Hartman] self-disclosed that you had not done [his] supplement to this investigation. It was finally completed on October 29, 2021.
In addition to the six-month evaluations, [Hartman] failed to complete probationary officer evaluations as ordered. [Hartman] self-disclosed (13) evaluations that had not been done. No other acting supervisor had that many delinquent evaluations. As of January 9, 2022, [Hartman] still ha[s] (9) missing or incomplete evaluations, which is still far greater than any other peer. The latest evaluation goes back to October 2021, which is the most delinquent in the Department.Notice and Order of Indefinite Suspension, Dated January 18, 2022, From Stan Standridge, Police Chief
Sergeant Ryan Hartman was given an indefinite suspension, which is the equivalent of termination from employment.
A Couple of Our Other Reads
You may be interested in reading about the San Marcos Police Departments 2021 disciplinary matters.
Or you may find our publishing related to the 2021-2022 San Marcos CISD disciplinary matters, of interest.
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