SJC Metro Homicide Unit commander suspended without pay

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For the second time since his appointment as top cop at the St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Unit, Commander Tim Corbett will be placed on unpaid suspension.

The decision comes after South Bend Police Department Cpl. Jack Stilp lodged an internal report against Corbett in May. The report, which alleged harassment and intimidation, landed on the desk of St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Dvorak, Corbett’s immediate boss. In effort to remain impartial, Dvorak and the six other MHU Executive Board members transferred the case to Special Investigator David Steele, a retired FBI agent.

Since June, Steele’s combed through Indiana Code and conducted a handful of interviews, including questioning Corbett and Cpl. Stilp. Last week, Steele returned his findings to the MHU Executive Board, which reached a decision Wednesday, suspending Corbett for five working days without pay.

"Anyone who's in management has issues with people and when you're looking at the appropriate sanction to take, you measure everything that person has done and what Tim Corbett has done is outstanding. Having said that, he's not perfect, no one's perfect and there's a management issue here and discipline will be had,” Dvorak said during a morning media conference.

According to the “Disciplinary Action Notice” released to NewsCenter 16, Corbett became upset after hearing certain South Bend day shift officers were talking poorly about him and his alleged involvement in the ongoing South Bend Police Department tape scandal. Those rumors led Corbett to telephone Cpl. Stilp on April, 24, 2012. During that phone call, Corbett reportedly told Cpl. Stilp he could no longer perform free investigative work. The veteran homicide investigator then switched topics and began an expletive-laced dialogue:

"I did tell Stilp that I was tired of a couple of day shift m*****f****** running their suck about us in roll call. I indicated to Stilp that if they keep it up that there would be some s*** coming down in the form of a law suit. I then told him that I was not going to be f* **** with,” Corbett said during an interview with David Steele.

According to Dvorak, the disciplinary decision centered on citing Corbett for breaking Indiana Criminal Code, St. Joseph County Policy, or both.

"Based upon the findings of this personnel investigation, there is no indication that the statements made by Commander Corbett, rose to the level of intimidation, harassment or threats. However, his actions constituted a violation of St. Joseph County Policy #504 and the appropriate disciplinary action will be determined by myself as the prosecutor,” Dvorak added.

NewsCenter 16 obtained Policy #504 which states, “All employees have an obligation to represent the County and their department in a positive fashion and to make customers and citizens feel as comfortable as possible in dealing with the County and its respective departments.”

"We went to considerable lengths to look at all of these allegations. It was personal, verbal confrontation by telephone that was not courteous, but did not call into question his performance as a commander of the unit. And so, disciplinary action is being taken, but it is not a termination,” Dvorak concluded.

Cpl. Stilp nor Corbett, who’s at police target training in Georgia this week, were present at Wednesday’s ruling. It’s still unclear when the homicide detective’s suspension will officially begin.

If you'd like to review Commander Tim Corbett’s personnel file, plus County Code #504, just click on the document image above this story.