Blytheville officer terminated after handicapped parking, and other issues

Blytheville officer terminated after handicapped parking, and other issues

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A Blytheville police officer has been dismissed for what the chief says is a pattern of poor decision making.

According to personnel records obtained by Region 8 News through a Freedom of Information Act request, officer Dustin LaCotts was dismissed from the force on May 10.

The personnel records show in July 2016, LaCotts received a written reprimand after sending a school employee inappropriate text messages while at an event.

LaCotts was serving as the School Resource Officer at the time of the event. He was later dismissed from that duty.

On April 13, 2017, records show LaCotts didn't respond quickly enough to a backup help call from Arkansas State Police. The employee incident report says LaCotts was at a sporting event with his son when the call came in, and after waiting a few minutes the other officer then told LaCotts he should leave and respond to the call.

Also in April, the records show LaCotts was a shift supervisor, but commanders found out he didn't retain training for accident report approval features.

They state, LaCotts was shown how to do these features but delegated the duties to a subordinate. When the subordinate was moved to another shift, it was discovered he has not retained the training.

Another employee incident report was filed on May 8, after a picture from social media was shared with BPD showing LaCotts cruiser parked in a handicapped spot at the Blytheville Sportsplex while an unknown handicapped female waited.

When the photo was brought to BPD's attention, LaCotts was placed on paid administrative leave.

On May 10 at 2 p.m., records show LaCotts met with Captain Scott Adams and Officer Jeremy Ward, where they told him Police Chief Ross Thompson recommended terminating LaCotts or letting him resign, because of the parking incidents, and a pattern of poor decision making.

In the report shows during that meeting, LaCotts said, the chief would have to fire him.

Adams and Ward told him to meet with the chief at 2:30 p.m. and LaCotts said he was going home to get gear, but never return.

BPD was made aware of a social media post LaCotts made saying he'd been fired.

The reports show LaCotts was dismissed from employment on May 10, and it was classified as termination.

LaCotts, thru Blytheville attorney Jim Harris, has appealed his termination to the Blytheville Appeals Board for Police and Fire.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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