ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque police officer once known for being the highest-paid city employee has stepped down from the department amid a fraud investigation. The Albuquerque Police Department said Officer Simon Drobik submitted his retirement Friday as authorities investigate potential time card fraud, concerning overtime practices and internal controls at the department.
He was the face of APD. Officer Simon Drobik was frequently on KRQE News 13 as he was APD’s public information officer for years. However, his last day was Friday amid an ongoing internal affairs investigation that started more than a month ago in which APD said it found potential time card fraud.
Drobik first came under scrutiny last year for the amount of overtime he was working then. The Civilian Police Oversight Agency claimed that Drobik violated policies more than 50 times by getting paid both as a spokesperson and working the chief’s overtime at local businesses, making more than $192,000.
At the time, Police Chief Mike Geier said there was confusion about overtime practices and disagreed with calls to fire Drobik. “For anybody in leadership in any law enforcement agency to say that the overtime process is confusing, that is a problem,” New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colon said. “That is a clear indication that we have lack of clarity from the top.”
Colon said his office launched an investigation after receiving numerous tips last year. Colon is now designating a special audit for the case after he said his office found enough red flags related to overtime practices and internal controls at the department. “We are not investigating just one transaction or just one individual,” Colon said. “In fact, we are going to be evaluating the process, procedures, protocols and oversight to ensure there is not any abuse in the system.”
Colon said his office will oversee the independent auditor’s investigation, and his office will also continue its own ongoing investigation. APD said their internal investigation is ongoing. APD said the investigation began at least 45 days ago, prior to the State Auditor’s Office contacting the City of Albuquerque. Last year, APD said Drobik would report to Deputy Chief of Staff Liz Armijo, who would monitor his use of overtime.
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