ST. JOHN- A St. John Police officer is suspended for 30 days for violating several department rules. The "Times" reports Officer Paige Hickenbottom responded to a call, on March 19th, in which two brothers were having an arguement. Officers did not witness the argument and it appeared resolved. Hickenbottom warned the two men that if police were called to the house again, someone would be arrested.
Police were called to the scene a half an hour later and Hickenbottom arrested one of the brothers and again did not witness the argument. Hickenbottom's report on the incident did not include a probable cause for the arrest or elements of the crime charged. She then allegedly became defensive and disrespectful when a superior officer questioned her about her report.
Hickenbottom had claimed to have seen the men yelling and screaming and allegedly changed the wording of her report to support her statement. She later admitted to making false statements and falsifying her report during a department investigation.
The officer has had past disciplinary issues on the job and had been reprimanded and suspended in the past.
Police Chief James Kveton recommended termination after reviewing the audio and video evidence.
Hickenbottom has been on administrative leave with pay since April. The violations included conduct unbecoming of an officer, insubordination, perjury and neglect of duty.
St. John's Police Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend Hickenbottom for 30 days. She apologized to the commission.
She will be required to get additional training after her suspension is over, she won't be eligible for promotion for a year after the suspension. She could be suspended again or even terminated if there are any more violations.