Yakima Cops Suspended for Charging $400 Worth of Beer to City Credit Cards

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Yakima police officers Chad Urwin and Ryan Urlacher had quite the time when they visited Spokane for a firearms-training program this past June. When they weren't in training, the officers took their city-issued credit cards and sampled a handful of the city's culinary establishments, washing it down with about $400 worth of beer.

Now, about that $400 worth of beer. . .

As Yakima taxpayers would likely be happy to hear, the city budget does not cover off-duty officers' drinking habits, and Urwin and Urlacher have now found themselves suspended for charging their suds to the city dime.

City of Yakima spokesman Randy Beehler explains:

"The officers told [the city manager] that they were confused about the credit-card policy," Beehler says. "The city has a $61 per day, per-diem policy. Part of this is they were under the impression that they could use that money on anything. They can't. We only pay the costs they actually incur--to the exclusion of alcohol."

Apparently one of the officers used to be a Washington State Patrol Trooper, and he explained that in the WSP, the officers' per diem is more of a no-questions-asked per diem.

When the city pointed out that the written per-diem policy specifically does not cover booze, the officers admitted that they screwed up.

Now, besides being suspended for a week with no pay and having to pay back the cost of the beer, the two officers have also been barred from being firearms-training instructors (which they were), and have been told that if they violate any other policy from now on they'll be fired immediately.

"It's a serious thing," Beehler says. "You're talking about public funds. You need to comply with our policy."

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