A South Bend patrolman was suspended Wednesday for 15 days without pay for allegedly driving his squad car while on duty to Mishawaka for personal reasons.
The incident involving 1st Class patrolman Christopher Bortone reportedly occurred Dec. 15 while Bortone was working his beat on the city’s west side. It is unclear the exact reason Bortone drove to Mishawaka.
The punishment was approved by South Bend’s Board of Public Safety, at former chief Darryl Boykins’ request. The charges included failing to notify a supervisor that he was out of his assigned duty area and for failing to obey the orders of a superior officer.
This is not the first issue involving Bortone that has led to suspension.
In February 2011, the officer accepted a 30-day unpaid suspension for allegedly stealing the temporary license plate off his ex-wife’s car.
In that incident, Bortone was accused of driving to his wife’s place of employment in his department-issued police car and removing the tag in November.
A week later, according to a past Tribune story, the department’s internal affairs investigator questioned Bortone about the incident and told him not to contact his ex-wife about the matter while it was still under investigation.
According to the charges filed by Boykins, Bortone violated that order twice by asking his ex-wife to ask the internal affairs investigator to drop the charges.
Meanwhile, another officer, Detective Meredith Hanley, was suspended Wednesday for five days without pay for an “insubordination” issue with Boykins.
The board voted unanimously to accept Boykins’ recommendation of the suspension and to deny Meredith a possible hearing request.
However, it was discovered after the meeting the suspension request had not been placed on the agenda. Board president Patrick Cottrell said the issue will likely need to be placed back on the agenda and voted on again at a special meeting or at next month’s regular meeting because it was not on the agenda.
“It was an oversight,” he said.
No other details were known about the incident with Hanley and Boykins, other than it occurred in the former chief’s office.
Staff writer Tom Moor: