Former Dexter police worker gets probation after pleading guilty to stealing from department

Friday, December 17, 2010

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- A former Dexter Police Department secretary and dispatcher was placed on probation Wednesday after pleading guilty to stealing money from the department.

After waiving her arraignment, Tammy Fields pleaded guilty as charged to felony stealing before Presiding Circuit Judge Stephen Sharp, according to Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Briney Welborn.

"It's not uncommon for this [a plea during an arraignment] to happen ... on first time property offenses; there's no point in fighting the inevitable. ... Just move on and figure out a payment plan and get the thing done."

After accepting Fields' plea Welborn said Sharp suspended the imposition of her sentence and placed her on five years of supervised probation.

"The main thing, she's got to pay the money back," Welborn said.

While the exact restitution amount has not been determined at this time, "she's got to pay it all back," Welborn said. The exact amount reportedly is to be investigated by the prosecuting attorney's office and Fields' supervising probation and parole officer and is to be paid in monthly payments.

Fields, who resigned from the department in October, had worked as an administrative secretary/dispatcher for about 10 or 11 years.

Fields was accused of stealing funds from a bank account at First State Bank and Trust belonging to the Friends of the Dexter Police Department and transferring them into her personal account at the bank.

There also were discrepancies in payments for compensation time, sick time and hours worked and being paid for hours not worked, as well as discrepancies in evidence money and money deposited for the animal shelter.

Money also could be not located in the department's general funds or the Friends of Dexter account from the sale of a lawn mower.

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