Monday, November 16, 2009

Australia: Honest cop back at work after beating corrupt police bosses -- for now

A OFFICER who exposed cronyism and corruption in the police force has returned to duty after 18 months of being forced to see psychiatrists despite being fit. Sergeant Robbie Munn said he was greeted by "a lot of smiles, handshakes and pats on the back" by other officers at the Maroochydore police station after battling against police bureaucracy.

Sgt Munn, who rebelled against a culture he said deterred whistleblowers from reporting "dirty little secrets" in the service, credited an October story in The Courier-Mail with restoring his career. Only days before the story ran, Sgt Munn was barred from duty but within hours of the story's publication his doctor received a report clearing him for service. "The story was the only reason I was allowed back," he said. "I still think they want me out and will try to medically retire me."

Sgt Munn is working three days a week on a rehabilitation program recommended for him last year but only offered to him after the story appeared. Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said he would meet with Sgt Munn to discuss his concerns, but the meeting has yet to occur.

Sgt Munn was supported by Queensland Police Union general secretary Mick Barnes, Maroochydore's Sgt John Saez, a 37-year veteran, and dozens of Dayboro residents impressed with his services as officer-in-charge in the town.

Sgt Munn, who was in charge of 70 police officers at Maroochydore, said he was smeared in the bureaucracy after exposing that police cheated on promotion exams by plagiarising and paying others to complete their work. He also unsuccessfully tried to reform rosters at the Maroochydore watchhouse after becoming concerned at some work practices. A year later, two officers were charged and eventually jailed for taking advantage of female prisoners.

When he was overlooked for promotion in Dayboro, he appealed to the CMC and won, embarrassing his managers. After having a heart attack, Sgt Munn said he was not allowed to return to duty despite his GP and two psychiatrists saying he was fit. The police service was accused of doctor-shopping for a negative report to keep Sgt Munn from returning.

He was embarrassed to be paid more than $100,000 from a fund for ill police officers while he was on enforced leave. "At least now I have direction. For 18 months I had no direction," he said.

Police bureaucrats sat on a favourable report on his mental condition until after the newspaper article appeared.

Evie, his wife, said her husband had been "honest to his own detriment". Union secretary Mr Barnes said Sgt Munn was a victim of "bastardisation" in the force. "It highlights the mindset within many senior QPS officers who are unable to agree to disagree," he said.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

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