GROVELAND — During an eight-hour Police Department shift, Aaron Yeo spent three hours on a computer doing community college homework, surfing the Internet for women, and printing an application for the Manchester, N.H., Police Department.
That is according to spy software installed by police officials to monitor Yeo's activities as a police officer before he was fired for misusing the department's computer and sleeping in his cruiser.
On other shifts in March 2009, the former patrolman spent hours on the computer searching for homes and women, watching bodybuilding videos, and looking up information about dieting, human growth hormones and employment opportunities at the FBI, according to a police report detailing the probe into Yeo's habits at work.
Those are among the examples of what the department's investigation of Yeo, 28, found before Groveland fired him last year, according to internal police reports.
Investigation documents and computer images obtained by The Eagle-Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act show dozens of instances in which the town found Yeo involved in inappropriate behavior.
The software monitoring Yeo's habits on the police computer showed him watching music videos and visiting "Family Guy" and "Biggest Loser" websites, according to police reports. He conducted several searches on MySpace for women of specific ages who live near Groveland, the reports said.
With Yeo facing an Oct. 29 deadline to appeal his firing to court, the newspaper has posted the investigation material on its website. The material includes an audiotape of police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen confronting Yeo about what they found during the course of their investigation. The tape was edited by the newspaper to eliminate pauses in the interrogation and other parts of the conversation not germane to the questioning. The material on the The Eagle-Tribune website also includes images of some of the websites he viewed on the police station computer.
Yeo was suspended after the March 31, 2009, interview and fired a month later by the selectmen.
Report: Yeo commonly spent 4 to 6 hours in station
Kirmelewicz and Gillen installed software to track Yeo's computer use and a hidden camera and GPS tracking device in his cruiser to prove he was using the police computer inappropriately, sleeping on duty, and lying to dispatchers about his location on overnight shifts, according to police reports.
Yeo spent between four and six hours in the police station on several of the nights he was watched. Sometimes on those nights, while on the station's computer, Yeo responded to dispatchers inquiring of his location that he was on patrol at various streets in town, the reports show.
On the 15 shifts that his activities were tracked, Yeo lied to dispatchers 36 times about his location, investigation documents show.
"The Internal Investigation Report and all supporting evidence that I was advised by counsel to relinquish to the media under the Freedom of Information Act, will clearly show that this former police officer was involved in a deliberate pattern of lies and deception in an attempt to cover up his gross malfeasance," Kirmelewicz said in an e-mail to The Eagle-Tribune yesterday.
Yeo appealed his firing to the state labor relations division, which upheld the firing.
Lawyer: Yeo undecided on court appeal
Yeo's lawyer, Stephen Pfaff, said Yeo has not yet decided whether he will appeal his firing to Superior Court.
Pfaff said other grievances by the patrolmen's union on behalf of Yeo have yet to be decided by the state labor board. They include complaints that Kirmelewicz spied on Yeo's computer and installed GPS and hidden cameras in his cruiser without negotiating those "change in work conditions" with the union, which Pfaff said is a violation of the union's collective bargaining agreement with the town.
At Yeo's appeal hearing with the state, Pfaff said Yeo gave inaccurate responses about his location to dispatchers because he wanted to be "intentionally covert" in light of "homeland security." Pfaff said Yeo was patrolling near targets of "terrorist threats" in accordance with Department of Homeland Security policy and that Yeo reported slightly erroneous locations so he could not be located by someone eavesdropping on a police scanner.
In a brief interview yesterday, Pfaff said a 2008 memo from Kirmelewicz advised officers to watch over seven municipal and school buildings in town.
"Many times when Aaron was watching one of these buildings, he would report his location as being across the street or somewhere else nearby," Pfaff said.
The state arbitrator dismissed Yeo's explanation that he misled dispatchers to disguise his location from criminals and terrorists as "not credible."
Lawyer disputes claim Yeo slept in cruiser
The police investigation also provided video evidence from a camera hidden in Yeo's cruiser that allegedly showed Yeo sleeping on two shifts. Yeo's lawyer disputed that allegation, saying the video was "too dark" to tell what Yeo was doing. The newspaper was unable to obtain that tape. Kirmelewicz said it is no longer in the town's possession.
Yeo was confronted by the chief and deputy in a tape-recorded interview in the early morning hours of March 31. He was asked to answer questions about his job performance in the presence of his union steward, Groveland Patrolman Kevin Woodman.
Yeo, who was hired in 2002 and served as a full-time patrolman from April 2006 until he was fired last year, is the son of retired Groveland police Lt. Harold "Harry" Yeo. The Eagle-Tribune reported in September that the elder Yeo has been investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement officials for allegedly collecting $73,341 from the town that he was not entitled to. An auditing firm's report shows he collected the money by doing things such as working paid traffic details and receiving his regular police pay for the same hours.
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