Sleeping Security Guards Causing Chief To Worry About Water

CLEVELAND – After Sept. 11, people working at water plants across the country went on high alert, but after more than seven months, it appears that security at one plant has once again become lax, Action News' Ed Gallek exclusively reported.

Action News conducted a hidden-camera investigation that found Water Department security guards sleeping on the job and sometimes not even showing up for work.

The water that you drink in most of northeast Ohio passes through Cleveland treatment plants, like the one Action News monitored on the city's west side. What the hidden cameras uncovered shows your drinking water being put in danger.

The video shows a utility police officer that is supposed to watch the gates, actually sleeping on the job. It also shows another officer simply leaving his post without telling anybody. Another one never even bothered to show up for duty.

Since the terrorist attacks on America, 15 utility officers -- nearly ¼ of the force -- have been disciplined.

Action News confronted Debra Willis, a security guard who was suspended for 10 days partly because she left a utility building unprotected.

"I don't know anything about this at this point," she said. "I can't talk about this now."

Last month, Action News broke the news of officer Bryan Bunch, who was indicted for making advances on women blocks away from his post.

Utilities Police Chief William Tell said that he wants to send a message with discipline.

"In the past, they just got away with anything they wanted to get away with," Tell, who took over the force last August, said. "I came in with another mentality -- a Cleveland Police mentality, a system mentality -- and that's the way we're doing things now."

Some of the workers who were disciplined have since been fired, others suspended and others just warned. Still, the chief admits that he's not satisfied with the protection of your water.

In addition to that, The Investigator, Tom Meyer, found out that city water worker Anthony Appelton was arrested on Wednesday for having more than a kilo of cocaine on him.

Police officials said that Appleton was dealing drugs in the city's Harvard Yards.

At least one other city worker is also under investigation.