I-Team: Training records missing for retired Bham police officer costs him new job
A retired Birmingham Police Officer reached out ABC3340's i-Team after he found out his training records were missing and his hours were never inputted into the state system. That meant he wouldn't be able to continue his new job at Lawson State. He was not certified as a police officer.
We looked into how this happened and found other officers may be in similar situations. State law requires twelve hours of continuing education/training along with firearms proficiency. The certification of an officer will be suspended by the state if their continuing education becomes "delinquent twenty four hours or more."
"I was told I was 91 hours short, that's six to seven years. I shouldn't have been carrying a firearm, driving a vehicle. I shouldn't have been making arrests or writing tickets," remarked Billingsley. The city could face some liability according to attorneys we spoke with if an officer's records can't be produced in a court case.
Billingsley told us there is no question he did the training. He says he always signed in at the classes and brought back certificates when they were away from the training academy. "I just want this to be over, get back my livelihood and support my family," said Billingsley. He found no support resolving the issue from the police department administration who told him it was his responsibility.
That was puzzling to us, because an officer can't enter their own training hours with the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission. (APOST) Only a designated person at the police academy can input hours.
Birmingham police declined our request for an interview as did APOST. According to APOST's own rules, the agency should have notified Billingsley and Birmingham Police that he was deficient on hours. They did not contact either.
Was this an isolated case? Birmingham would not give us a number but said: "all issues are currently being addressed regarding other officers"
Birmingham's Fraternal Order of Police met with the mayor about this and other issues Monday. Mayor Woodfin told the FOP President, Heath Boackle, he was not aware of the situation and will look into it.
We checked with other police departments and someone is assigned to monitor training hours at their academies. And a number of Birmingham officers tell us that's how it is supposed to be handled in Birmingham.
Last week, Billingsley's records were finally found by the Birmingham Police Department and APOST has fully reinstated him as a police officer. He will get his job back.
But questions linger about sloppy record keeping and reporting.