Veteran cop charged; accused of going home repeatedly during overnight shift

tiverton police

TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) – A veteran Tiverton police officer is accused in a criminal case of going home for “prolonged periods of time” while on the job and charging for overtime he didn’t work.

Lt. Timothy Panell, 46, of Tiverton, has been charged with 49 misdemeanor counts of obtaining money under false pretense and nine counts of filing false documents. The misdemeanor charge means each count is valued at less than $1,500.

Tiverton town solicitor Anthony DeSisto said Panell worked the overnight shift and would go home when he was supposed to be working.

“The town’s allegations include many repeated charges arising from separate incidents of thefts of service,” DeSisto said. “The allegations are for prolonged periods of time he was at home while being paid.”

DeSisto said another set of counts arise from “paperwork filed in connection with overtime work that the Lt. was paid for but the town alleges he did not perform.”

A call into Panell’s attorney Norman Landroche was not immediately returned.

A court docket shows Panell appeared in Newport District Court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty.

According to website tivertonfactcheck.org, Panell was the second highest-paid town employee for three of the last four fiscal years. The website reports he made $119,072 in FY2014 – including overtime – second only to the superintendent of schools who took in more than $128,000.

The site’s data portal shows his base pay was $58,178 that year and he earned $44,087 in overtime, and $16,807 in “other pay.”

State Police Major Joseph Philbin said they were called by the Tiverton Police to assist in the investigation, but in the end it was handled by Tiverton’s internal affairs unit.

DeSisto said Panell is currently suspended with pay. Any disciplinary action is pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

This report was modified from its original to add the charges of filing false documents.

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