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Suspended Elmendorf PD officer is back on duty
Officer Richard Puente (left) and Cpl. David Rios
Wilson County NewsAugust 15, 2012 2,574 views 1 comment
ELMENDORF -- As of Aug. 9, Cpl. David Rios is back on duty for the Elmendorf Police Department, after the Elmendorf City Council voted 4-1 to reinstate the one-year veteran during the regular city council meeting.
As part of the decision -- in which councilmen Linda Ortiz, Linda Hall, Jesse Garcia, and R.M. “Andy” Anderson voted in favor, while Richard Rodriguez voted in opposition -- Rios was allowed to receive back wages, minus three days’ suspension.
Elmendorf Police Chief Sonny Gonzales said the corporal and Officer Richard Puente were suspended July 25, which left the chief as the city’s only paid law-enforcement officer for 15 days. Gonzales said the department’s non-paid reserve officers and deputies from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office assisted in patrols during that time.
While Gonzales would not elaborate on why either officer was suspended, Rios told the Wilson County News that he was suspended because of three complaints related to sexual harassment allegations filed against him. One of these complaints dated back to March.
Unlike Puente, who chose to meet with the council and his attorney in closed session, Rios decided that his matter would be discussed in open session. During that time, the corporal denied the allegations. One of the alleged victims also addressed the council.
The woman, who works in a local convenience store, was not asked by the council to reveal her name. She admitted to having a previous dating relationship with Rios. The complaint arose when someone overheard a conversation she had with a friend about the failure of the relationship. The person who overheard the exchange reported it to Gonzales, who then contacted the woman for further information.
“I don’t want someone losing their job over something I said,” said the woman, who withdrew her complaint.
Rios said, “If this part didn’t occur, I am concerned about the validity of the rest of the complaint.”
Puente has served with the department for 10 months and is appealing his suspension. The council voted to take no action, directing City Administrator Cody Dailey to respond. Dailey would not divulge the nature of the allegations against Puente, only to say that the complaint involves “a violation of personnel and police policy.”
The council also addressed other matters during its Aug. 9 meeting. See related article, page 1A. http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=45136
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