Three Meridian police officers have been placed on administrative leave without pay as the state auditor's office investigates fraudulent reporting of time by the officers.
Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose confirmed the investigation but declined to identify the three officers placed on leave.
"We're waiting to see exactly what's going on," Dubose said. "We just know that when the auditor came in they said they were investigating.
"The investigation has been going on for several months from what I understand, but as far as specifics I don't know."
Dubose said that the three officers could return to the force or be terminated, based on the results of the investigation.
"If the allegations are unfounded, they will receive back pay," Dubose said. "But if the allegations are true, there could be criminal charges – or civil, because I don't know what the state auditor's office will do. And then, of course, termination."
Dubose said that all employees of the Meridian Police Department, except him, are hourly rather than salaried. Patrol officers work 12-hour shifts while other officers, such as detectives or administrative officers, work on an eight-hour schedule.
"Based on what I understand, it's not a matter of coming in saying you worked four hours and then going home," Dubose said. "It's a little more complicated."
Dubose said that the names of the officers involved in the investigation would have to come from the state auditor's office.
"The investigation is still ongoing. I expect to hear from the state auditor's office again next week because they've requested some information from our department concerning the officers' activities," Dubose said about a potential timeline for the investigation.
According to a January payscale from the City of Meridian, there are 122 paid employees in the police department, including a few part time employees.
The State Auditor's Office said Wednesday that it can't comment or confirm current or pending investigations.