Temple Police sergeant given 15 days suspension without pay

Temple Police Sgt. Thomas Menix received a 15-day suspension without pay effective Monday in connection with a Class C misdemeanor assault charge brought against him by the Port Aransas Police Department, Temple City Secretary Lacy Borgeson reported Tuesday.

The suspension was assessed on Menix by Temple Police Chief Floyd Mitchell.

The Telegram requested a status update on Menix Friday from Borgeson, but didn’t receive information until Tuesday’s email.

Menix, a 27-year veteran of the Temple Police Department was arrested on April 16 while he was off duty. A Port Aransas Police Department incident report said Menix was intoxicated and bit a woman.

Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs was told the Port Aransas Police Department case against Menix was dismissed, but he couldn’t confirm it, he said Tuesday.

“It doesn’t surprise me. The courts here work closely with the defendants,” Burroughs said.

The city of Temple didn’t respond Tuesday to an email asking if the case against Menix was dismissed.

A Telegram reporter placed several phone calls Friday, Monday and Tuesday to Port Aransas City Attorney Michael Morris to ask about the status of Menix’s case, but Morris didn’t return calls. Also called on those same three days was the Port Aransas Municipal Court, which didn’t return calls, either.

June 13 was the first date Menix was scheduled to go before the Port Aransas Municipal Court, but the court date was canceled.

The case was rescheduled for July 11, but that court date didn’t happen, either.

Menix’s case was still listed as pending in August, Morris said.

Mitchell put Menix on paid administrative leave effective the day Menix was supposed to return back to work. Since April 22, Menix was paid an estimated $35,149.51 in compensation by the city of Temple for the more than five months he was on suspension, Borgeson said.

Paid leave vs. remaining on duty

Mitchell, or any Temple Police chief, is the individual who decides whether or not an officer is placed on paid administrative leave or remains on active duty during investigations, Mitchell said in a Tuesday email.

He addressed the decision-making process in general and didn’t give specific information regarding Menix or the officer involved in the arrest of Larry Wayne Parker, who remains on active duty.

An internal complaint against the officer involved in Parker’s arrest said the officer might have used unnecessary force during the arrest, and the internal investigation is ongoing.

Different factors are taken into consideration by Mitchell regarding personnel decisions, he said.

“Officers are often placed on leave based on the severity of the potential policy and or law violation, as a precautionary measure to ensure there is complete transparency and no unintended influence on the internal or criminal investigation as a result of the officer continuing to be in the workplace,” Mitchell said.

Also considered is whether letting the officer work would “erode departmental morale, have an adverse effect on other department members or adversely affect the reputation and trust the community has in the department during the investigation,” he said.

The final consideration is how the officer copes with the incident, both emotionally and physically.

“My decision to place, or not to place, a member on leave status is generally based on preliminary data, facts and circumstances presented to me prior to any in-depth investigation into the matter, with the considerations listed above,” Mitchell said.