DES MOINES IOWA – A Des Moines police officer arrested last month for drug possession has been fired from the Des Moines Police Department.
Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw terminated Officer Brandon Singleton’s employment Wednesday morning, three weeks after authorities arrested him following a hit and run accident.
He had been on paid leave since April 24.
“The most important thing between a police department and citizens is trust,” Bradshaw said Wednesday. “We recognize one individual has impacted and diminished that trust. But this is not reflective of the rest of our men and women, who are committed to their job.”
Singleton is charged with causing a hit and run accident, possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. While much of the focus has been on the drug charges, Singleton ultimately was fired for a laundry list of administrative offenses including sleeping on duty, leaving the area of his assignment, vehicle accidents and failing to meet various standards of personal conduct.
He also was terminated for violating the city’s alcohol and drug abuse policy, which says employees may not possess illegal substances, report to work while their ability to perform the job is impaired by drug or alcohol use or use drugs or alcohol at work.
Officials would not release precisely which of those tenets Singleton violated because the termination is a personnel issue.
Officials said they couldn’t divulge whether Singleton had been tested for drugs that night as part of the internal investigation because of personnel policies and medical privacy laws.
But the department’s investigation was “very thorough,” said Des Moines Police Sgt. Chris Scott. Authorities had said they didn’t believe he had the drugs for law enforcement purposes.
Officials also declined to say whether Singleton had any previous disciplinary issues.
Police launched both internal and criminal investigations April 24. That morning, Singleton apparently crashed his squad car around 1 a.m. in the 3800 block of East Ovid Avenue and drove away.
More than five hours later, he told dispatchers he needed help changing a tire in the 2600 block of Dean Avenue – more than three miles away.
A police supervisor noticed damage to the patrol car didn’t match Singleton’s description of what happened and an officer spotted marijuana in the car, officials said. A search turned up meth and drug paraphernalia, authorities said.
The criminal investigation is still ongoing.
Singleton’s attorney has said the former officer suffers from narcolepsy and post traumatic stress disorder.
He has 14 days to appeal the chief’s decision.