MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile Police Department Internal Affairs Unit found Captain Dewayne Hill guilty of the following charges: conduct unbecoming, unlawful conduct and violation of the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics.
Officials said all three charges are considered to be major violations. Hill opted to retire effective Tuesday, November 13 in lieu of administrative sanctions.
According to authorities, the police department received information from a confidential source that Hill improperly used a Visa debit card without proper authorization.
"The commander of the Third Precinct had intercepted, activated and began using a visa debit card without the owner's consent," said Mobile Police Chief Micheal T. Williams.
Williams said the debit card was inadvertently sent by mail to Hill's Third Precinct offices, and he began using the card to buy some clothes, a fishing license and to withdraw cash.
The total amount spent was just under $300.
"It's very disappointing for me to have to sit here and go through the sequence of events over less than $300," said Williams.
Williams said the debit card account was opened by an advisor from a Mobile Police Explorers Post and was inadvertently sent to the wrong address.
"It has to do with ethics. You can't take someone's card and use it without their knowledge. It's a felony in this state; it's theft. You can't do that. And if I can't trust you with a small amount of money, certainly, I can't trust you a large amount," said Williams.
The Explorers Program offers young adults a chance to get a behind the scenes look at police work.
Williams said the account held money from donations and fundraisers and not taxpayer's dollars.
"The kids would go out and maybe bag groceries, wash cars or something to earn money. And then those monies were put into that account to be used at the discretion of that advisor," said Williams.
The Mobile Police Department is in contact with the advisor and criminal charges will be at the victim's discretion.
Williams said Hill paid back the stolen money and a new captain will be named soon.
"We have to be able to trust the people we send out in the streets or send into your home to write up a burglary report or a theft report. We have to be able to trust those people, and when we can't trust them then there is no place for them in an organization like this," said Williams.
As for Hill's retirement pay, police said he has the time but is not old enough to get his retirement benefits. Police said he will qualify in six years.
Recently, Chief Williams confirmed an internal investigation but would not divulge the details.
Mobile Mayor Sam Jones said he knows all of his precinct captains well, but did not know what the internal investigation was about.
"I haven't gotten it yet. Usually, when they finish the internal investigation is when I get the information. They don't involve me in the investigation," said Jones. "Normally when they finish them, they'll give me something with some recommendation on how to handle the situation."
Jones said he lives in Precinct 3 and that the officers commanded by Captain Hill have done a good job fighting crime there.
"They have made a lot of progress," said Jones.
Last week city councilman John Williams said Hill has a good reputation throughout the community.
"Very few officers I call by their first names or I know immediately who they are and what they are doing, who they are helping. He has a reputation in this city for being an absolutely outstanding officer," said Williams.
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