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High-Profile Montgomery Cop Paid For Not Working

11:00 PM, Mar 10, 2011   |    comments
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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- Bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement with its police union, the Montgomery County Police Department continues to pay an officer who performs no duties after being charged and acquitted of perjury for making statements in a criminal trial that proved to be untrue.

The officer, Dina Hoffman, is on paid leave while the department investigates allegations she lied in court. A criminal trial on those charges resulted in a not guilty verdict last year. The department investigation is a separate process.

Based on her reported $56,000 annual salary, the county has already paid her more than $80,000 while she has been on leave.

Hoffman was charged with perjury after testifying repeatedly that she found a suspect in a drunk driving case in the front seat, behind the steering wheel, when she approached him in a parking lot in May of 2008.

A videotape of the encounter showed the suspect to be reclining in the back seat of the car when Hoffman arrived.

"These are serious allegations. The officer has rights that need to be protected. The community and the department also need to be protected. We want to ensure that we do a complete, thorough, and fair investigation. There is a review of two criminal trials here, one: where the officer is alleged to have committed perjury. The second one is her trial for perjury," said County Police Captain Paul Starks.

Hoffman was originally removed from patrol duty and required to perform administrative functions that limited her contact with the public.

"According to the collective bargaining agreement, after an officer is in an administrative position for 90 days the department has to put them on paid administrative leave in circumstances such as these," Starks told 9NEWS NOW.

Starks says the investigation into Hoffman's actions has now been completed and sent to department leaders, who will decide whether to bring departmental charges or to re-instate Hoffman to duty. A call to Hoffman's attorney by 9NEWS NOW was not returned.

Montgomery County follows a procedure that is similar to those of other area departments.

The four Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police officers charged with crimes earlier this week are also on paid leave pending the disposition of their cases.

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