RENO -- A Nevada state hearing officer has upheld the suspension of a state trooper who failed to tell his supervisors he was taking a dinner break and then skipped out on his $3 tab at a pizza parlor.
Trooper Anthony Dosen is serving a 30-day suspension without pay for leaving the restaurant without paying the discounted bill, and for other violations of the patrol's meal-break policy more than a year ago, said David Hosmer, chief of the Nevada Highway Patrol.
"The Nevada Highway Patrol will not allow insubordination and dishonesty to continue to degrade the integrity and honesty of the Nevada Highway Patrol," Hosmer said in a statement Wednesday.
Patrick Dolan, a hearing officer for the Nevada Personnel Commission, ruled that the Department of Public Safety had just cause to suspend Dosen as a result of the incident at the Nik N Willies restaurant in Reno on Sept. 22, 2001.
"The evidence establishes that Dosen willfully failed to notify dispatch that he was taking a break, leaving his supervisors to believe that he was out patrolling his beat when in fact he was eating pizza at a restaurant with three other troopers," Dolan wrote in a finding of facts issued last week.
Dosen and the three other troopers, who were not named, also violated Nevada Highway Patrol policy that no more than two troopers and two vehicles stop to eat at the same restaurant at the same time, Hosmer said.
Dosen, who has been a state trooper since October 1989, allegedly parked his motorcycle behind the restaurant "in an effort to avoid giving any passers-by an indication that more than two officers were at the restaurant at the same time," Dolan said.
"Such knowing and willful misconduct is disgraceful and inexcusable" and discredits the agency, the hearing officer said.
Dosen acted in an "insubordinate and dishonest" way when he left the restaurant without paying the bill, which already had been "discounted by 50 percent," Dolan wrote, from between $6 and $6.50 to about $3 -- as many establishments do for sworn law officers.
Dosen, who works out of the patrol office in Reno, could not be reached for immediate comment. His home telephone number is not listed. A public information officer for the patrol said he would attempt to contact Dosen to relay a message seeking comment.
The hearing officer said Dosen claimed he simply forgot about the bill.
"That assertion is unworthy of belief," Dolan wrote.
Dosen declined to return to pay the bill even after two fellow troopers advised him to do so. He ultimately returned to the restaurant and paid the bill after his supervisor filed a complaint against him on Sept. 27, 2001, Hosmer said.