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Embattled Houston police officer’s positive job reviews raise questions

Personnel records show the officer received "outstanding" ratings. But a KHOU 11 Investigates analysis of those records show his supervisors always used the exact same wording.

HOUSTON — Houston Police Department supervisors repeatedly copied and pasted favorable performance reviews for the narcotics officer now under criminal investigation for his role in a deadly drug raid last month, a KHOU 11 Investigates analysis of the officer’s personnel file has found.

The 34-year HPD veteran is accused of lying on an affidavit to justify a no-knock search warrant at a home in the 7800 block of Harding Street.

HPD Chief Art Acevedo accused the officer of making up a story that a confidential informant purchased drugs at the home the day before the Jan. 28 raid.

RELATED: HPD Chief Acevedo: No more 'no-knock' warrants after deadly raid

KHOU 11 isn’t naming the officer because he hasn’t been charged.

Ironically, HPD supervisors had previously praised the same officer for utilizing confidential informants “to positive ends” and for his “highest level of safety awareness,” according to performance reviews obtained by KHOU 11 Investigates.

They did so eight separate times of the course of four years. But those supervisors always used the same exact wording in each semi-annual employee performance review.

Credit: KHOU
The officer's performance review included he "utilizes CIs (confidential informants) to positive ends" and has the "highest level of safety awareness."

RELATED: 'You lie, you die' | HPD undercover cop lied about drug buy that led to deadly raid, Chief Acevedo says

“If you just cut and paste every six months the review has no value,” said Larry Karson, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Houston-Downtown. “It reflects the useless of their evaluation system.”

Court records show the officer was sued twice for his role in officer-involved shootings, but those incidents never show up in his 288-page personnel file. His employment reviews also never mentioned a written reprimand the officer received in 2002 for not tagging crack cocaine evidence in the police crime lab.

Instead, supervisors wrote on his subsequent employee review that his “work performance is considered to be exceptional.”

Personnel records show the officer received “outstanding” ratings, the highest possible, for more than 12 consecutive years. But at the same time, supervisors repeatedly cited the officer for not filing all his paperwork in a timely manner.

In his most recent performance review last August, which also included “outstanding” marks, supervisors wrote that the officer “needs to refocus on narcotics case management and increase his productively levels.”

RELATED: Cases are in jeopardy after undercover Houston police officer's questionable affidavit

Five months later, the officer allegedly used a falsified warrant to the lead the Harding Street raid. It ended in a deadly shootout that left him and three officers wounded and Rhogena Nicholas and Dennis Tuttle dead.

“Obviously HPD managers are not being held to any standards when they were doing these evaluations,” Karson said. “You can have a problem that is simmering forever and nobody spots it.” 

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