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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Operation Pull Over Program Manipulated by Retired Lawrence County Police Officer

Updated: May 23, 2023

LAWRENCE COUNTY - MAY 22, 2023 - This year, has been a dangerous year on Lawrence County roadways with residents concerned about vehicles running red lights, speeding, impaired driving and reckless driving.


However, for four years retired Lawrence County Sheriff Deputy Tim Butcher have manipulated the program for his own personal gain according to the findings of a recent audit from the Indiana State Board of Accounts.


What is more concerning did the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department perform traffic patrols as required by the Operation Pull Over Program.


According to a newly released audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department did not issue as many citations or warning tickets as reported.


The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department received a federal pass-through grant formerly known as Operation Pull Over from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.


The primary purpose of the program was to reimburse the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department for the costs of overtime salary of traffic enforcement officers and minimal administration pay. Regular duty hours were not to be reimbursed by the grant.


The purposes of the 2020 and 2021 federal grant were to perform saturation patrols during peak days and hours where it is known to have alcohol related crashes.


The patrol times were to include Monday through Sunday from the hours of 10:00 pm to 4:00 am. The grant agreements required hours worked, and activity as a result of those hours, which should be documented on Officer Activity Sheets (OAS).


Photo: Retired Lawrence County Deputy Tim Butcher was the grant administrator of Operation Pull Over


The OAS in addition to the tickets written were required to be provided by the grant administrator.


According to the Indiana State Board of Accounts Audit the payroll schedule and vouchers were completed by retired Officer Tim Butcher to report hours charged by officers to the grants for the payroll period. The payroll schedule and vouchers completed were certified and approved by the supervisor before remittance to the Lawrence County Auditor for payment.


Dispatch logs were used as time stamps for when a officer calls into dispatch. Examples of when officers calls were made, start and end of shifts and traffic stops conducted.


2017 BUTCHER RECEIVED COMPSENATION FOR WHOLE YEAR FOR OPERATION PULL OVER - DOCUMENTATION FOR DECEMBER ONLY


According to the report Officer Tim Butcher in 2017, he received compensation from the federal grant throughout the entire year but only the OAS was presented for the Month of December.


A comparison of hours worked on the Officer Activity Sheet for December to the regular duty timesheets showed 17 hours worked where Officer Butcher duplicated his time, reporting the same hours worked or both, which he received pay twice for the same hours.


Butcher also reported on the December Officer Activity Sheet he wrote 25 citations and 58 warnings tickets during the month. However, none of the citations or warning tickets were presented for examination.


File photo: Lawrence County Highways especially along Indiana State Road 37 seen an increase in traffic accidents due to several factors


The Payroll Schedule Voucher was examined for the period from July through December and compared to the dispatch call logs. The examination revealed that no activity for the federal grants were recorded in the dispatch call logs during the hours claimed by to have been worked by Officer Butcher. The dispatch logs were unavailable for January - June 2017.


Butcher was compensated for 570 hours he charged the federal grants, including the 17 hours that was duplicated above. Due to the lack of the Officer Activity Sheets, lack of citations, lack of tickets, and no activity from Operation Pull Over recorded in the logs during the hours claimed to have been worked by Butcher in the dispatch call logs, the Indiana State Board of Accounts could not substantiate any of the hours worked by Butcher to Operation Pull Over.


2018 BUTCHER RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR WHOLE YEAR FOR OPERATION PULL OVER GRANT - ONLY DOCUMENTATION FROM JANUARY - JUNE


Officer Butcher received compensation from Operation Pull Over throughout the entire year, the Officer Activity Log only was presented for January to June only.


A comparison for those hours reported on the Officer Activity Sheet for the period of January through June to the regular duty timesheets showed 19 hours where Butcher duplicated his time, receiving pay twice for the same hours.


Butcher, reported on the Officer Activity Sheet available for January through June he wrote 285 citations and 501 warning tickets for the period of January through June with none of the citations or warning tickets presented for examination.


The Payroll Schedule Vouchers were examined and compared to the dispatch call logs. The examination determined that no activity for the Operation Pull Over Program were recorded in the logs during the hours claimed to have been worked by Butcher.


Butcher was compensated for 642 hours he charged to Operation Pull Over including the 19 hours he duplicated.


2020 BUTCHER RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR OPERATION PULL OVER GRANT MAY AND JULY - ONLY PROVIDES DOCUMENTATION FOR MAY


According to the report Butcher received compensation in the months of May and July but only provided documentation for May only.


The Officer Activity Sheet showed that Butcher duplicated 13 hours worked and wrote 15 citations, and 72 warnings but only two citations and eight warnings could only be validated.


In 2020, Butcher charged 26.5 hours to Operation Pull Over that was not recorded in the dispatch logs.


Butcher was compensated for 34.5 hours to Operation Pull Over, which included the 12 hours 13 hours in duplication of pay.


2021 BUTCHER RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR OPERATION PULL OVER GRANT - 29 HOURS DUPLICATED


In the year, Officer Butcher retired in July, a total of 29 hours were duplicated, in which 41 citations and 119 warnings were issued. However, none of the citations or warning tickets were presented for presentation.


Butcher was compensated for a total of 105 hours charged to Operation Pull Over Grant with the 29 hours that were duplicated by Butcher.


Graph: UNSUPPORTED HOURS FOR OPERATION PULL OVER GRANT


2017 - 570

2018 - 642

2020 - 26.5

2021 - 97


Graph: Number of Citations or Warnings that Were Never Written


2017 - 25 Citations and 58 warnings - No citations or warnings could be validated

2018 - 285 Citations and 501 warnings - No citations or warnings could be validated

2020 - 15 Citations and 72 warnings - Only 2 citations and eight warnings could be validated

2021 - 41 Citations and 119 warnings - No citations or warnings could be validated


The grant is now known as the Comprehensive Highway Injury Reduction Program otherwise known as C.H.I.R.P. which the program has existed for years and approved by several sheriffs over the years.


During the period of time, Former Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham was the elected Sheriff of Lawrence County at the time.


Not long after Captain Andrew Phillips became the new grant administrator of the Operation Pull Over program and discovered the discrepancies in the administration of the Operation Pull Over Program, and reported his findings to Sheriff Mike Branham.


Sheriff Mike Branham, Captain Andrew Phillips, and Lawrence County Sheriff Detective Jim Slone began an investigation and reported it to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.


The audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts were released in April 2023, and Indiana State Police continues to investigate the matter.


ICJI is responsible for developing and implementing programming designed to reduce the number of people injured and killed each year on Indiana's roadways. We administer state and federal funds awarded to Indiana from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In this role, ICJI conducts grant management, organizes media campaigns, produces educational/informational materials and coordinates special enforcement efforts with state and local law enforcement agencies.


Traffic safety among Lawrence County residents have been a major concern since the beginning of 2023 with several traffic accidents at the major intersections along Indiana State Road 37 including several accidents at the intersections in the City of Bedford.


Newly elected Lawrence County Sheriff Greg Day Responded to the report.





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