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| Crime |

Was Frank Crowley Security Officer Fired For Being a Whistleblower or Troublemaker?

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A Dallas County security officer who worked at the Frank Crowley Courts Building was fired on Monday for a number of reasons, including being a morale-buster. But Charlotte Hardy insists the real reason she was fired was because she told higher-ups that officers at the Crowley are sleeping on the job and sleeping with each other.

Hardy sent an anonymous e-mail to Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey on June 21. It began: "I would like to tell you of a few problems in my department." The letter noted times of day when the exterior doors to the courthouse could be found unsecured (between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.). Also, she noted, "at night most security officers can be found sleep [sic] at the front desk." And then: "There is a lot of sexual actives [sic] in the department." She went on to name names while insisting that a superior "covered up the problem."

The director of the Office of Security and Emergency Management, Robie Robinson, refused to comment when reached by Unfair Park. So did Chief Alonzo Banks, who penned the termination letter Hardy received on Monday. "Chief Banks is firm in his 'no comment,'" said Nikki Hodge in his office.

In his letter, Banks cites two specific errors that led to Hardy's termination; he also mentions a bad attitude. On June 20, Banks writes, Hardy failed to inspect a vehicle and report damages before passing it on to another officer. Then Hardy allegedly failed to give 911 responding officers the correct address of a fight she had called in. As a result, Banks writes, "Dallas Police Department responded to the wrong location."

Banks also addresses the officer's attitude: "Officer Hardy you also have a history in not cooperating with your colleagues. ... Your behavior has caused the moral in this department to be affected in a negative way and the image of the department to be affected in a negative light."

Hardy believes the department knew she had sent the original e-mail to the commissioner since she had been complaining about such problems to the department head for some time. Hardy believes her communication with the commissioner is the real reason behind her firing. The other stuff, she says, is just an excuse.

"They're just making stuff up," Hardy tells Unfair Park. "The department is upset with me for going to the commissioners and complaining. So it was excuse to fire me."

Indeed, Commissioner Dickey's office confirms they are aware of the officer's name. Two days after the first anonymous email, they received a follow-up, this time with Hardy's real name on it. "I am in trouble for speaking up," Hardy wrote in an e-mail.

Although Commissioner Dickey was not available to comment, her assistant, Mike Pappas spoke about the occurrence. Pappas explained that as soon as they got the e-mail, they forwarded it directly to Banks and Robinson. After that, it was out of the commissioner's hands and up to Human Resources and the department to handle Hardy's missives.

Pappas believe that the department handled the matter immediately and probably got rid of anybody actually guilty of any of the accusations made in the e-mail. "I would think that any department head dealing with an individual with that kind of demeanor would have handled it immediately and everything documented with human resources," said Pappas.

Hardy filed a grievance with the county Tuesday morning to appeal the decision.

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