The Odessa Police Department is investigating whether the shelter manager of Odessa Animal Control committed a crime before her resignation last week.
As news of the investigation broke Monday, officials released only vague details, refused to specify what kind of crime police are investigating and would not say whether the case involved a misuse of public money.
But police acknowledged that the investigation is related to at least one criminal report — a misdemeanor theft reported on Wednesday with the “City of Odessa” listed as the victim.
Jacqueline Adimare resigned as shelter manager on March 27 but was scheduled to remain on the job through April 14, police said in a statement in response to questions. She was not allowed to keep working during her final weeks.
Instead, Adimare was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday, the OPD reported
Interim Police Chief Mike Gerke, who declined an interview, declined through a spokesman to release any information about the theft report beyond what police revealed last week in a blotter listing daily police reports.
The police blotter listed $400 as the amount taken, which would make it a misdemeanor under Texas law. But Cpl. Steve LeSueur, police spokesman, said “the amount is fluctuating as the investigation continues. It is increasing.” Police would not release the precise amount reported stolen.
The department routinely releases basic information about reports of crimes. But LeSueur said the department would not do so with the misdemeanor theft report “so it doesn’t jeopardize the investigation” involving Adimare. LeSueur declined to confirm or deny whether she is a suspect in the theft case.
“A theft report was made where the victim was the City of Odessa, but I’m not confirming that Jacque Adimare is the suspect,” LeSueur said in response to questions about the theft report. “Just like any other investigation we never want to wrongfully accuse that person.”
Adimare did not respond to a message seeking comment on social media Monday, and she could not be reached Monday afternoon at her home.
The OPD oversees the Animal Control. The criminal investigation is an internal one by the department’s internal affairs arm, the Professional Standards Unit, City Manager Richard Morton confirmed on Monday. Morton said “we’re investigating whether or not any of her actions were outside the law or if she even committed negative actions.”
“We don’t know that there was a crime committed,” Morton said. “We do know that we have suspicion of possible employee misconduct, but until we look at it and investigate we can’t really say.”
Morton, who said he was told of the investigation “Tuesday or Wednesday,” would not say what Adimare is accused of doing. But he said the investigation had “nothing to do with her spending capacity” and that so far the investigation had not prompted an audit of Odessa Animal Control.
Morton said he did not have an estimate of when the investigation involving Adimare would be completed. The city manager said the case had nothing to do with Police Chief Tim Burton’s retirement on Friday.
Adimare was hired in July 2014, and her yearly salary is $62,750.
The OPD does not always place employees on paid administrative leave in cases involving accusations of serious misconduct. The internal affairs unit is also investigating allegations that at least one officer, Cpl. Lyle Hahn, falsified a search warrant to cover up an illegal search of a hotel room in January by police including other members of his unit.
Police say Hahn and another four officers could face discipline in the case, which is still being investigated.
All five remain on active duty.
Morton said that “if there is any concern of misconduct, for the sake of the city and the sake of the employee we want to remove them from that position temporarily until we can resolve this.”
Asked why Adimare was put on leave and not just told she could leave after resigning, Morton said “she’s given her two-weeks’ notice —That doesn’t mean that we can just arbitrarily say ‘You are gone’.”