Suit Stemming From Waco Police Double-Dipping Scandal Dismissed

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WACO (July 15, 2014) The only two remaining defendants in a federal lawsuit that grew out of the Waco police double-dipping scandal have been cleared of civil wrongdoing and the lawsuit has been dismissed.

Seven of the officers caught up in the scandal later filed suit against the city, the police department and two specific officers who conducted an internal investigation of the double-dipping allegations.

In June 2013 U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., dismissed the city and the police department from the suit, but did not grant summary judgment to the two officers, Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton and Commander Mark Norcross.

In the appeal to the 5th U.S. Court of Circuit Appeals in New Orleans, lawyers for the City of Waco argued that because Swanton and Norcross were simply doing their jobs as investigators in good faith, they should have been immune from any action in the lawsuit to begin with.

A three-judge panel of the court reversed Smith’s ruling and on July 10 Smith also granted the two officers’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims.

"It is further ordered that any motions pending in this lawsuit are denied as moot,” Smith said in the order.

Attorneys involved with the lawsuit say that Smith's order, in effect, brings the issue to a close, unless some party files new pleadings.

The scandal that surfaced in 2009 revolved around 14 officers who were regular employees of the police department and worked part time for the Waco Housing Authority as security officers.

Investigators say those officers cheated on their time cards by claiming to have worked hours they did not actually work.

Of the 14 initially investigated, Waco police cleared four and 10 others faced interdepartmental discipline.

Of the 10 who were named for discipline, four resigned or retired and one did not appeal that decision.

The five remaining officers who appealed the disciplinary action eventually were reinstated with some duty limitations after a civil arbitrator brought both sides to agreement.

The cases were taken to a McLennan County Grand Jury which refused to indict any of the officers.