Ex-trooper pleads guilty in overtime case

Posted at 9:20 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 22:20:51-04

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) – A former Louisiana state trooper has pleaded guilty to committing malfeasance in office by putting false information on traffic tickets he wrote during overtime shifts.
Jimmy Allen Rogers was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $2,500 in restitution. The Advocate reports that he pleaded guilty Thursday in state court in Lake Charles.
The 35-year-old Rogers was charged after a statewide investigation of the Local Area Compensated Enforcement program, or LACE. That traffic-ticket program was intended to raise money for district attorneys, public defenders and law enforcement agencies.
The false times on tickets raised questions about whether he worked all the hours he claimed. District Attorney John DeRosier said the hours Rogers reported were "theoretically bogus," but prosecutors couldn’t prove he didn’t work a full shift.
Unlike many law enforcement agencies, the Louisiana State Police do not track the movements of troopers via GPS and instead rely on them to radio in their whereabouts.
In Rogers’ case, the authorities could only determine that the times on his tickets were inaccurate because they differed – often by several hours – with the corresponding dash cam video from his traffic stops.
The guilty plea brought a swift resolution to a case that did not initially result in criminal charges under the administration of Mike Edmonson, the former longtime state police superintendent. Rogers had been allowed to resign in 2015 after an internal investigation found he repeatedly falsified LACE citations.
Rogers was not arrested until earlier this year, after a watchdog organization, the Metropolitan Crime Commission obtained the internal affairs report and provided it to DeRosier. The district attorney said it was the commission’s president, Rafael Goyeneche – not State Police – who initially referred the complaint to him.
"If this case had been handled as a criminal matter (by state police), it probably would have sent the message to the rest of the agency in 2015 that this type of conduct would not be tolerated," Goyeneche said in an interview.
At least two of the other three troopers booked in April are accused of committing payroll fraud years after the Rogers case came to light.
Those troopers were caught by undercover WVUE-TV cameras spending hours at home that they claimed to be working.