DALLAS – After a seven-month investigation, a Dallas County sheriff’s deputy has been reprimanded for working in uniform for a debt-collection agency while off duty shortly after being promoted.
Deputy Myron Brown was working for TRS Recovery Services Inc. when the company tried to repossess furniture from a Seagoville man in April. The incident occurred just several days after Brown was promoted from jail guard to deputy.
It’s the latest case of sheriff’s deputies moonlighting at inappropriate businesses without seeking departmental approval.
Executive Chief Deputy Jesse Flores ruled on Nov. 9 that Brown violated policy by working an unauthorized off-duty job while on probationary status.
Flores also found that Brown displayed conduct unbecoming an officer by working for a debt-collection agency and using his position as a deputy to get inside James Parnell’s home to repossess the furniture.
Flores issued Brown a written reprimand – the least severe punishment – and ordered him to make a presentation about part-time job violations at the next deputy training class.
Under department rules, Brown could have been fired.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Leach said commanders took into consideration the fact that Brown was just out of the academy and had no prior disciplinary actions.
Parnell said he wasn’t happy with the lenient punishment. He said Brown was the only reason he opened the door and let the debt-collection men in.
“I think he should have gone to jail for robbery,” he said.
Other sheriff’s deputies have recently been disciplined for unauthorized off-duty work.
In August, the Sheriff’s Department fired one deputy and disciplined 14 others for violating policy by working at strip clubs while off duty.
The 15 deputies did not get approval to work security jobs in uniform at two topless bars on Northwest Highway – Club Onyx and the Dallas Gentlemen’s Club.
One deputy was suspended for 30 days and barred from working off-duty jobs for a year. Another deputy was demoted to a jail-guard position, and 11 other male deputies received suspensions ranging from one to eight days. One other deputy received a written reprimand. The officers also were each banned from off-duty work for several months to a year.
The department prohibits off-duty work at adult-oriented businesses.
Deputies are allowed to work off-duty jobs as long as their supervisors approve their “application for special duty” cards, which contain information about the employer and the nature of the work.
Sheriff Lupe Valdez said there’s a reason all deputies must get approval for off-duty jobs.
“We need to be sure officers do not abuse their position or uniform in any way,” she said.
Brown, 30, was hired by the Sheriff’s Department as a jailer in 2006, county records show. In March 2009, he was promoted to deputy after completing the academy. He was still on probationary status at the time of the Seagoville incident.
According to a Seagoville police report, Brown and two TRS employees went to Parnell’s home in April and knocked on the door. Parnell told Seagoville police that when he asked who it was, the deputy replied, “The police.”
When Parnell opened the door, Brown walked in wearing his deputy uniform, followed by the two TRS employees, the report said. Brown then said, “They are here to get the merchandise, and if you don’t give it to them, you could go to jail for six months,” the report said.
Parnell, who was cooking at the time, asked the men to wait while he turned off the stove in the kitchen, but the employees began moving the furniture toward the front door. Parnell then told his grandson to call the police, according to the police report.
When officers arrived, Brown told them he was there to protect the two TRS employees, saying, “I am just trying to make some extra money,” according to the report.
Brown denied identifying himself as police or telling Parnell that he could go to jail for six months. But he acknowledged making a mistake by working the job.
Brown wrote in a statement that he heard about the work from the wife of a friend. The woman told him her boss needed help getting furniture back from customers who weren’t making payments.
Brown said in the statement that he was to be paid $100 for each house. The first house was Parnell’s.
He said in his statement that he thought TRS was part of the furniture store.