A 1993 review of suspended captain Jon Barnett’s performance reports that the then-sergeant displayed “judgment issues” and that fellow officers had “lost respect for his position.”
A recent review of the performance evaluations of suspended DLPD captain Jon Barnett reveals a history of disciplinary action, including a one-day suspension for sleeping in a patrol car in July 1999 a month after being hit with a letter of reprimand following a verbal altercation with both a dispatcher and former captain Nannette Martin (now deceased).
That disciplinary action aligns with complaints officers made about Barnett in an operations assessment that led to the suspensions of both Barnett and Chief Keith Schroeder.
In the assessment, officers complained that Barnett “is very unpredictable” and witnessed the captain “sleeping through trainings, sleeping at his desk and generally behaving very strange.”
The assessment indicates that Schroeder also took note of Barnett’s tendency to sleep at work, though no apparent disciplinary action was taken under the chief’s watch.
Schroeder’s approach to the behavior outlined in Barnett’s past reviews and the operations assessment stands in contrast to that of former chief Bruce Kemmet and Martin, who each reviewed Barnett’s performance at different points in his career.
Kemmet suspected Barnett of sleeping on the job in 2008, the same year he issued Barnett a letter of reprimand for disobeying the former chief’s directive regarding excessive radio communication. Both Kemmet and Martin consistently admonished Barnett over decades for several reasons, including issues with authority, lack of initiative, problems with co-workers and personal issues that interfered with work.
Barnett was restricted from being near an employee at the department for unspecified reasons in 1993. That year, Martin wrote in her review of Barnett’s performance that the then-sergeant displayed “judgment issues” and that fellow officers had “lost respect for his position.”
Barnett was issued a one-day suspension for unspecified reasons in 1993 and also in 1990. Personal issues apparently dogged the 30-plus year veteran for much of his career.
Other than Barnett’s first review by Schroeder, in which Barnett was nicked for lack of initiative, none of these issues appear in later performance reviews of Barnett done under Schroeder’s watch.
Despite problems detailed in his annual reviews over the years, Barnett was consistently credited with excelling in training, safety and presentation.
One aspect of Barnett’s evaluations over his years with the force has been consistent: Kemmet, Martin and Schroeder all recommended Barnett for annual raises every year he was up for review.
His salary at the time of his suspension was just over $74,000. Schroeder, whose starting salary was just over $64,000 when hired about eight years ago, is making just over $90,000 now.
Police commissioner Craig Stromme has so far refused to comment as to why oversight was lax enough at the department that performance evaluations either didn’t reflect actual performance, didn’t apparently lead to disciplinary action, or simply weren’t done. Also unknown is why, despite problems with the department egregious enough for both top cops to be suspended, both were consistently given annual raises.
Yesterday’s City Commission meeting was followed by an executive session, closed to the public, during which commissioners and city attorney Tom Traynor negotiated severance packages for both suspended officers.
Whether either will accept the offers or enter into litigation with the city is not yet known. Both Schroeder and Barnett will have 21 days to respond to whatever package the city devises.