Arnold Gives Chief’s Son-in-Law Cop Job in 2011

27 May

Update: In my subsequent post, I examine the Arnold police hiring process and some other issues. I have updated this post’s introduction and title to reflect my current understanding.

Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey, who was recently found to be selling items from his personal businesses to the city, engaged in another unethical act by having a relative hired as a police officer in 2011. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC), “The penalty for nepotism is automatic forfeiture of office.” This applies to “any public officer or employee,” not just elected officials, who “name or appoint” relatives. This is spelled out in the Missouri Constitution. Does this apply here?

Todd Watson married Shockey’s daughter, Laura, in February 2010. He thus became the chief’s son-in-law.

A year later, Shockey went before the city council and asked for a new step in the city’s pay scale. This step would allow him to hire a police “cadet” who had yet to attend the police academy (see meeting minutes here (p. 8) and here (p. 5)). This would allow the cadet to earn a paycheck while attending the academy. If you watch the meeting videos, you will see Shockey stating that he was having great difficulty finding good applicants for police jobs. But he also said the city is getting good applicants that have not had academy training, and there’s no place to put them. He said a cadet hire would allow the city to groom the person “our way.” He said “I don’t know if we’re ever gonna use it” at the first meeting, and “we’re not gonna use it all the time” at the second meeting, but that it would be nice to have on the books (February 17 meeting at the 85:26 mark, March 3 meeting at 28:48). The council approved the chief’s request on March 3.

Five months later, the city hired its first cadet, according to information from the city of Arnold. His name? Todd Watson. Since the new pay step was approved, the city has hired 10 officers. How many were hired as cadets? Only one. Apparently the difficulty in finding good applicants went away pretty quickly. Watson become a commissioned officer in April 2012.

Police officers hired by Arnold since 2010.

Police officers hired by Arnold since 2010.

Son-in-law falls well within the MEC’s definition of a nepotism hire (relative within the 4th degree by blood or affinity). But not only did Shockey hire a was Shockey’s relative hired, but Shockey pushed for the creation of a whole new position in the city’s pay scale for him, one that allowed Watson to collect a paycheck while attending his required training. Since Watson is the only cadet to be hired by the city, it would appear that the cadet position was created especially for him. I don’t think most officers get that luxury, although a cadet hiring program is not unheard of. Watson remains a city cop and can be seen in this photo.

The Arnold regime, including Mayor Ron Counts, shrugged off the news (first reported on this blog) that Shockey’s business dealings with the city were illegal. How will it respond to this more serious act? If it’s anything like last time, the city will say they all knew about the relationship, but nobody thought it was illegal, and besides, Watson is a great cop. Alternatively, maybe the city will throw Shockey under the bus and claim that nobody knew that he’s related to Watson. That would be the more interesting outcome.



28 Responses to “Arnold Gives Chief’s Son-in-Law Cop Job in 2011”

  1. shortstop May 27, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    If the Chief of Police doesn’t follow the rules, how does anyone expect the rank and file to do so? “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. Makes your wonder what other laws and procedures the Chief waves off with a wink.

    Wasn’t Chief Shockey president of Mo. Police Chief Association at one time?
    Great example for LE !!!


  2. Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    It should be noted that this does not fall under the MEC. The mayor, not the police chief, approves and commissions all hires within the police department and has done so in the City of Arnold for 42 years. Fact checking is quite important in these types of matters.


    • Doris Borgelt May 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      I call Bullshit! The Chief does the hiring, he is the head of his department. Don’t even try to wiggle out of that.


      • Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

        You should certainly look into the city ordinances. It is all there and has been since the city began. The Mayor is the ultimate and final hiring and commissioning agent. Sorry, but facts are facts.


    • wrongonred May 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      Except that his son in law ultimately is in the reporting line of his father, that is the definition of nepotism, and the exact reason why there are rules against it. It is not so clearly defined as just approving the commission of the individual. It is also nepotism if the individual has any input in the hiring process, or has any influence over compensation.


  3. shortstop May 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Who do you think recommended the Chief’s son in law? The mayor? The mayor may ultimately sign off on the rec, but in no city that I know of (law abiding that is) does the mayor ever recruit an inexperienced person for police officer. That’s done through the police personnel department or in smaller cities the Chief’s office. And the reason is that the mayor typically knows nothing about what qualities makes a good police officer. Mayors that don’t meddle leave that up to their police expert : the Chief. That’s been my experience having been in the business for 35 years.


  4. Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    I never get involved in all of the childish posts on this and other Arnold forums but I have to say that this bad, even for you all . Bringing an officer and his wife into this mess? If someone has a problem with the Chief or City, that is one thing and you have every right to ask questions and seek facts. But why bring other individuals into it by posting names and such about them when they have done nothing wrong? They aren’t the issue and do not deserve your attacks. Just my two cents on the issue. My faith in humanity and the idea of being kind to your neighbor is unfortunately being demolished by these kinds of posts.


    • wrongonred May 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      No one is accusing Todd or Laura of wrongdoing (though I find it hard to believe Officer Watson is completely ignorant of the nepotism policy which City Personnel are required to sign or that he did not know he was a nepotism hire), however, I am rather sure the information was included to substantiate the claim about what the Chief has done. It does not seem to be superfluous to me, and your protest makes it seem a bit like you are creating a strawman to attack the messenger for being “unneighborly” when in fact, you should be blaming the Chief for creating the situation. Lets lay the blame where it belongs, Bob Shockey, not the messengers.


      • Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

        Really, you just did accuse him of wrong doing. Good try. I have seen post from you stating family is off limits. So that just goes for your family?


    • Doris Borgelt May 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      You always get involved and are the main childish poster on every forum.


  5. Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    I have to agree. This is an all time low even for this site. I use to follow this site until today. Posting personal Information about the chief’s daughter is just wrong. Like the other poster stated, if you have a problem with the chief that is fine but leave his family out of it. How would you like it if someone started talking about your daughter or son on the internet? I have seen post on this site and others from the same posters that family is off limits. Why not Practice what you preach.


    • wrongonred May 27, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Because without that information, certain individuals would scream, SHOW US THE PROOOOOFFFFFF! How is posting a public document which substantiates the claim being made “just wrong”? Had it not been posted, folks would bend themselves in pretzels trying to deny the relationship between Officer Watson and Chief Shockey. You know, a bit like no one believed Monica until she pulled out “the blue dress”.


      • Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

        But no one has ever denied the relationship between the two. No one. So why post a marriage license that brings two people into this that don’t need to be blasted on the internet? Their names do not need to be smeared. It really isn’t fair to them. I’m sure if the author of this blog has children, he would not wish for his children to be used as a mechanism for revenge. There are certain things that are just off limits, even for the lowest of low. Has anyone thought about the fact that these 2 have lives that don’t need to be ripped apart by a political situation that isn’t their fault? Would you want your children to be blasted and defamed because of something you did? I’d venture to guess no, you wouldn’t. I understand what the author was trying to do but he went about it in a terribly misguided and awful way. This is someone’s daughter, not a political figure in any way as far as I can tell (seeing as this is the first I’ve ever seen her name). I’m just shocked and honestly disgusted that someone went to this measure to smear someone else.


    • Doris Borgelt May 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      Discuss the issue. I will return you jab and say the only all time low on this site is your IQ. That being said, the Chief’s daughter is the recipient of her father’s nepotic largesse in the form of her husband’s job. She is receiving, along with her husband personal gains via money in the form of her husband’s paychecks and benefits along with any checks written by the city to her for engraving, trophies or uniforms purchased in violation of city ordinance from her recently acquired company B & C Retailing, which was recently owned by her father. We are talking about “children” close to 30, well above the age of majority. See Section 2-280


  6. Doris Borgelt May 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    It also shows that Laura Watson, is indeed the Chief’s daughter and she just happens to be the registered operator of B&C Retailing which supplies goods to the City of Arnold, in violation of their ordinances and the nepotism polcy.


    • Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

      So now your fight is against the Chief’s daughter? Wow. The business issue has been resolved and operations have ceased, per the City Council & Mayor from the last I heard. So why are you now going after his daughter? Your thirst for blood is out of control. Honestly. You know no limits but I bet if someone started going after your children, you’d cry foul so loudly.


  7. Doris Borgelt May 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    Personal gain….here is proof, proof, proof! The Missouri Constitution calls for the Chief to lose his position, not his son-in-law. The action of selling goods to the city and supervising his son-in-law are in violation of Arnold city personnel police and Arnold Police department general orders, in addition to being violations of state statute and the Missouri Constitution.


    • Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      Then take your fight to the Chief. Leave his kid out of it. Honestly, low even for you.


  8. JC Penknife May 27, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I included the information about Todd and Laura because it is necessary to prove nepotism. And this is not the first time Laura has been mentioned on this site; as has been said, she ran (at least nominally) a business by which the Chief made illegal business transactions with the city (by the way, that issue isn’t closed, because the Chief has not been punished – yet). So now both Todd and Laura have benefited financially from Shockey’s position as chief. They are hardly innocent bystanders.


    • Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

      Low. Simply low. You’ve now brought 2 hardworking people into your political game. I hope they fight hard to protect their identity and reputation because being blasted online like this is not fair to them. Sometimes you have to think outside your own agenda and think about who else you could be ruining just to prove a point. Big round of applause to you and your clear lack of common decency.


      • JC Penknife May 27, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

        Well, technically it was Shockey who brought them into this.


  9. Anonymous May 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Yet you went on to attack them. If you have kids, I truly hope they are never crucified for decisions you made because that is exactly what you are doing to them. I will not bother arguing with people who refuse to see outside of their own destruction. Just know that this is wrong. I’m sad for you because you cannot see that. I’m sad for you because you cannot understand that sometimes people deserve to be left out of a situation (like in this instance where your mission to take down the Chief has led you to try and defame and hurt his kid). Keep your fight limited to your intended target and people will take you more seriously. Just some food for thought.


    • bmueller84 May 28, 2014 at 8:45 am #

      To the person or persons posting Anonymously, stating it is wrong to even mention the names of relatives: There are numerous websites that link everyone to relatives through data that is public record.

      Spokeo, PeopleFinders, PrivateEye, Zabasearch, MyLife, etc. Those sites data mine everyone! Are you calling their offices and telling them how low they are for publishing information about people and their relatives?

      Shockey’s daughter and son-in-law are pertinent to the investigation. I think you know that, but it’s either cognitive dissonance or you are trying to unfairly damage the author’s credibility.


  10. wrongonred May 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    JC, You know what they say when you start taking flak……..


    • Doris Borgelt May 28, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      Since we all know who anonymous is…we can safely say she doesn’t operate with common sense and logic. No outsider dragged Laura and Todd into the situation except the Chief. No one is using them, except the Chief. He was operating a business illegally with the city, I pointed that out and the business was “transferred” to his daughter, which is still illegal according to city ordinance. Is anon saying, as an officer, that Todd does not know the police general orders, Arnold personnel policy, city ordinances or recognize he has been receiving preferential treatment since the day he was told he was getting off the couch? Then how can he or his father in law be in charge of enforcing those same laws? Ask every police officer you know, if they were paid a salary while attending cadet training and then if their probationary period started while in said academy. Is this situation his fault? He chose to involve his family in these illegal activities, they are not babies, close to 30 years in age, old enough to know better.


  11. shortstop May 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

    I don’t have dog in this fight. I don’t live in Arnold and visit Arnold maybe once a year. I’ve met Chief Shockey, but don’t know him. My questions for any Chief that hires a relative would be…Are you going to be unbiased when you have to make a decision on the persons job performance? Will his supervisors treat him differently because he is related to the Chief? Will the other officers accept him or will they fear he is a pipeline to the Chief? When promotion time comes, is everyone going to get a fair shake- you know some of the rank in file will be upset if the relative gets the nod. Can you guarantee a biased free IA investigation? If the officer is sued, don’t you think the defense will somehow get this connection into the trial? If necessary can the Chief fire his daughter’s husband? If the officer is as good as mentioned (and there is no reason to believe he isn’t) then he should be able to get a job with another department. That or the Chief has started down the ‘slippery slope”.



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