A 23-year veteran Dayton police officer says his firing this week for lying to his superior officer was an overreaction and vindictive.
The Dayton Police Department concluded that Ronald Horton, who was let go Tuesday afternoon, violated policy when he lied.
And whether Horton gets his job back -- the case is in arbitration, he told News Center 7's Layron Livingston on Wednesday night -- rests with how strongly he makes his case.
"He was not truthful in an investigation," Deputy Chief Robert Chabali said. "He was fired as part of an administrative investigation" that involved a violation of department policy.
Chabali said he could not go into detail about the firing, but noted there "was no safety issue" stemming from what Horton did or didn't do.
Horton, formerly a uniform officer assigned to Central Patrol Operations Squad 2, admits he lied to his supervisor, a sergeant, the morning of June 3 when he was asked where he was.
He was at home, using the restroom, when he was supposed to be on his way to a scrap yard in the 300 block of West Washington Street to assist another officer. The call involved suspected illegal scrapping, which turned out to be a dispatch run that was cleared without incident.
But it was too late by then, Horton said. He had advised dispatch that he would be delayed. "I told them I was at Main [Street] and Great Miami [Boulevard], actually I was at Main and Babbitt [streets]."
Later that same day, when his sergeant asked him where he had been, Horton said, "I did tell him at first that I was at home. I wasn't truthful then."
Horton said he came clean the next day. He said he's done this kind of thing before -- going off duty -- during his shift. In the past, he said he has told dispatch where he was.
"This time, for some particular reason, there's a problem."
Usually, he said, officers go to the nearest and most convenient facility when nature calls. Horton claims there is bad blood between him and his supervisor -- whom he did not identify by name.
"I know it's a vendetta," Horton said.
Two years shy of his pension, he answers "of course" when asked whether he'd like his job back. The termination is in arbitration. He doesn't know whether he will prevail.
"I was fired, I think unjustly," Horton said, noting that he could understand his being suspended or put on desk duty as punishment. But to be terminated, he said, "just for going home to use the restroom, I just don't understand it."