HomeNewsOfficers resign after investigation

Officers resign after investigation

Monty Ward

Monty Ward

Two TJC Campus Police officers have resigned after officials say they ignored orders from their direct supervisor.

According to records obtained by the Apache Pow Wow through the Freedom of Information Act, Monty Ward and Joshua Lowry, former TJC Campus Police officers, responded to a fight with shots fired at the Varsity Place Apartments, located at 3400 Varsity Drive, at 8:10 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2013. According to several reports, the fight was part of an ongoing incident that started between TJC students on campus earlier in the day.

Officer Ward told his superiors he had received phone calls from multiple TJC student residents who lived at the Varsity Place Apartments that a large fight was starting on the property. Ward is a resident of Varsity Place and was a security guard for the complex. Officer Ward relayed that information to Tyler Police who were now receiving calls on the incident. Minutes later, Tyler P.D. sent officers to Varsity Place to respond to a large fight in progress with shots fired.

Officer Ward radioed in to his on-duty supervisor, TJC Campus Police Sgt. Mark Pierce, to request a property check that would have allowed him to assist Tyler P.D. However, Sgt. Pierce told all officers on duty to remain on campus and to meet with him for further instructions, according to multiple reports from other officers according to the investigation by Chief Randy Melton and Executive Director of Public Safety Dr. Thomas Johnson.

Sgt. Pierce was attempting to instruct his officers to do a directed patrol in order to safeguard the campus in case any of the students involved came back to TJC. Officer Ward said he never heard that order and then called in on the radio that he was en route to Varsity Place. He responded with lights and sirens to the scene at the apartment complex. Officer Lowry heard that Ward was en route and followed to back him up, leaving only one officer on campus. Sgt. B.J. Williams was on the west campus and monitoring radio traffic and reported that he never heard Ward say he was en route to the scene.

According to the reports filed by Lowry and Ward, when the two officers arrived at Varsity Place they found the roughly 40 people fleeing the scene, and only one UT-Tyler unit on-scene. Ward and Lowry said they looked around for injured people, as Tyler PD began to show up on the scene. The officers said they then returned to campus.

According to TJC officials, the officers’ actions that night violated the TJC Campus Police Policy Manual.

“Officers Josh Lowry and Monty Ward have been suspended without pay until completion of an investigation concerning their response to a report of a fight off campus Tuesday night. The Tyler PD worked the alleged fight investigation. TJC police were not requested. The officers allegedly left their jurisdiction without cause,” said Fred Peters, director of public affairs and grant development in a statement given to The Apache Pow Wow on Nov. 23.

Chief Randy Melton’s investigation into the incident began by requesting a statement from both officers about the events. Both Lowry and Ward declined to comply with the request until they sought legal counsel.

Josh Lowry

Josh Lowry

The investigation report from Chief Melton found the two officers in violation of several rules stated in the Code of Conduct, including ignoring lawful orders from a superior officer and responding with red lights and siren.

This is not the first time Officer Lowry has had issues with the Code of Conduct, according to records.

According to TJC officials in November 2011, he received disciplinary action for unnecessarily drawing and displaying his taser on several occasions. He was given a one-day suspension without pay and placed on 90-day probationary status.

In December 2012, he failed to correct a report when a superior officer asked him to.

Officer Lowry had reported late to work multiple times in December 2012, even failing to show up for work at all on Nov. 13, 2012.

On Dec.7, 2012 there was a citizen’s complaint filed against Lowry concerning rudeness. There were several independent witnesses, including TJC employees. He was given a final notice that his performance on the job was not acceptable. He was given a five-day suspension, placed on a 180-day probation period, required to take an anger management class, and required to meet with a supervisor every week for a six-month period.

“It is my recommendation that serious disciplinary action be taken against both Ward and Lowry,” Chief Melton concluded.

The most recent incident at Varsity Place was the last one for Lowry, and concluded with his resignation on Dec. 4, 2013. Monty Ward resigned one week later on Dec. 11, 2013.

Campus P.D. has declined to comment on the matter, and the two officers could not be reached for comment.

 

Latest comments
  • I’m certain your missing a lot of the story and what happened from the officers point.. Fired for responding to a shots fired? Helping another agency? 40 plus in a fight with one officer? Sounds like they should be hailed as heroes and the Sgt should be hailed as a coward…

  • How is his seriously on the news ? This is what we should be reading about ? Your doing nothing but bashing these guys over something that happened 2 months ago Instead of focusing on the news TODAY, and things that are relevant to our lives as students. Your making your self look stupid.

  • Tjc needs to get it together

  • This article appears to be an outright crucifixion of Officer Ward and Officer Lowry. The officers resigned two months ago, why the mudslinging now? The information given in this article is so slanted. Why not stick to the specifics of the investigation without it getting personal. Does the author of this piece have a personal vendetta against Ward and Lowry or is it Chief Melton himself? I have to agree with Jay’s comments. These officers should be hailed as heroes. My goodness, there were shots fired. They responded to a lone officer against 40. It’s my understanding that both Officer Ward and Officer Lowry worked security for Varsity Place Apartments. Not only were they familiar with the students on campus at T.J. C. but also students that live in those apartments. These officers were hired to serve and protect and it sounds like they were doing their job. Did they violate a direct order or were they simply doing their job to PROTECT the students of Tyler Junior College?

  • Officers suspended for responding to a shots fired call, really???? Has anyone even researched their policies? A TJC Police Officer most definitely has jurisdiction and responding to an emergency with possible injuries with lights and sirens is well within the scope of duties and officers discretion. If I remember correctly TJC sent these 2 Officers to both SWAT and SWAT Commander Schools to deal with these type of scenarios am I right??? Pow Wow get your crap together and do some real investigating on both sides of the account.

  • ok so yall post everyone elses comment and not mine??? freedom of speech you better put it on there!

    • We respect all opinions and comments but will not post any comments containing vulgar language.

  • I am absolutely appalled that these two officers had to resign over this incident. As former TJC Faculty these officers were only doing what they were sworn in to do. Has anyone spoken to Dr. Metke about this at all? Dr. Metke is a former police officer himself and should know better then anyone the duties imposed to all officers. I am embarrassed that the board and administration allowed this to happen and sends a clear sign they don’t care about safety of their students. Chief Melton it’s time for you to go. Too many years of being a useless Sergeant at Tyler PD does not need to carry over here to TJC! Geez!!!!!!!

    • Randy Melton is LONG overdue to be gone, along with the rest of the old regime. Someone needs to bring real Police back to TJC, like Justin Rackley, John Thornhill, etc.

  • This is completely and totally disrespectful to not only the two officers but their families as well. This article needs to be taken down. Tjc needs to get it together….

  • First off, the Freedom of Information Act enacted on July 4th 1966 deals with an open Federal Government and its agencies, not this defamation of character and lawsuit waiting to happen. This is very irresponsible reporting and investigation on TJC’s and the Pow Wow part. TJC’s policies are online and I highly encourage you to read them. These officers followed all policies that I read online at TJC.EDU website in the personnel files. This is very unprofessional and all parties involved with this inaccurate reporting, defamation of character, giving false account and statements need to be held accountable immediately and swiftly. These Officers went above and beyond not only helping a fellow brother/sister in blue but protecting TJC students at nearby apartment complex which houses many students of the college. What is the real story here is the question????

  • This is a very distressing article. Are TJC Campus Police officers really REAL police officers? My son is a State DPS Trooper. I know that when an officer is in danger, EVERYBODY goes to help. The article stated that Ward was the security guard for Varsity Place. I believe that he had every right to go help. There was still an officer on campus. Officers are supposed to “Go To” areas of need, not go the other way!

    • Sherry, below is a copy of TJC’s Board Policy directly from the internet. TJC clearly does not know their own policy and the unfair and defamation of character of reporting the pow wow has shown is very disrespectful and wrong. Pow Wow I highly encourage you to do more research prior to releasing stories before a strong legal message is sent your way. TJC CHA(Legal)
      The Board may employ and commission peace officers to maintain law and order. The primary jurisdiction of a peace officer so com-missioned includes all counties in which property is owned, leased, rented, or otherwise under the control of the College District that employs the peace officer.
      Within a peace officer’s primary jurisdiction, he or she:
      1. Is vested with all the powers, privileges, and immunities of peace officers.
      2. May, in accordance with Chapter 14, Code of Criminal Procedure, arrest without a warrant any person who violates a law of the state.
      3. May enforce all traffic laws on streets and highways

  • Bleep it out and post the comment like I said freedom of speech…I didn’t post on here so y’all could decide whether or not it goes up

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