Career Death

The consequences for a DPS officer who bucked his bosses' dismissal of a righteous speeding ticket, got fired, and won a $190,000 jury award for wrongful termination

Ransom later told investigators he was surprised to see a date of August 28 next to Lane's signature on the evaluation, since he hadn't turned it in until August 30. The missing-then-found evaluation "couldn't have been a coincidence," said the jury foreman.

Internal affairs later exonerated Lane of any wrongdoing following a passed polygraph test in which he was asked whether he "deliberately lied" during his deposition.

Lane did not return phone calls from New Times.

Brent Wyatt would rather be wearing a uniform. If he hadn't tape-recorded telling phone conversations with superiors, he probably would be.
Laura Segall
Brent Wyatt would rather be wearing a uniform. If he hadn't tape-recorded telling phone conversations with superiors, he probably would be.

State law requires an agency that loses more than $150,000 in a lawsuit to write a plan that would prevent such a loss in the future. A draft of the plan DPS came up with is awaiting final approval, said Rick Knight, spokesman for the agency.

One thing the plan requires is for Lane and all other DPS command and manager-level employees to attend an eight-hour training session on how to handle grievances, performance management, and employee evaluations. Even agency director Roger Vanderpool will take the class, Knight said.

The DPS changed another policy since Wyatt made his tapes: As of July 2004, it prohibits employees from covertly recording other employees except for official department investigations.

The regulation "stemmed from a separate incident," Knight maintained. "I've been advised it has nothing to do with the Wyatt case."

As for Wyatt, he asked for his job back in 2005, at the time his last standard evaluation was finally located. He asked again last month following his court victory. He's still unemployed.

"I think DPS on the whole is a good agency," he said. "They've got some major management issues."

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