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Mendota Heights Police Officer Suspended for Third Time

March 26, 2017 10:19 PM

The Mendota Heights Police Department has suspended an officer after a five-month internal affairs investigation. 

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained a letter written by MHPD Chief Kelly McCarthy to Officer Mike Shepard. In the letter, McCarthy told Shepard he is officially suspended for 30 days without pay for misconduct and for violating a direct order from a superior. 

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"Due to your misuse of (Division of Vehicle Services) data and your violation of a direct order by discussing the City's investigation into allegations against you with a former City employee, the rationale for the 30-day suspension is explained in the attached letter," McCarthy wrote.  

RELATED: Growing List of Complaints Against Mendota Heights Police Officer

McCarthy cited numerous examples of Shepard's use of DVS data to look up drivers' license information, including looking up photos of two women for non-professional use. McCarthy also stated there was evidence to show Shepard contacted Neil Garlock, Mendota Heights' Mayor-elect at the time and a former coworker of Shepard, to get advice because "(Garlock) would be called on to make a decision at the conclusion of this investigation." Garlock was to be sworn in by the time recommended disciplinary action was presented to the city council. 

RELATED: Mendota Heights Police Officer Placed on Paid Administrative Leave

In the letter's final paragraph, McCarthy wrote Shepard's "attitude and relationships with other department members and city employees prevent him from being a productive, effective employee." 

Efforts to reach Shepard for comment were unsuccessful Sunday. The disciplinary action is the latest in a string of tumultuous events at MHPD. 

In June 2016, Sgt. Bobby Lambert was fired for mishandling a drug overdose death investigation, and his dismissal was upheld in February by an independent arbitrator. 

In January, MPHD Police Chief Mike Aschenbrenner unexpectedly retired after receiving public scrutiny for firing Lambert.  Attempts to reach Aschenbrenner for comment on the Lambert and Shepard cases were also unsuccessful.

A copy of the redacted letter and investigative findings can be found here.

RELATED: Arbitrator Upholds Firing of Mendota Heights Police Sergeant

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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