MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Two police officers who worked for both the town of Mason and city of Gallaway were indicted after an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office.

Investigators determined that Vatisha Barken, former interim chief of Mason Police and captain for the Gallaway Police Department, and Samuel Sutton, a former patrolman for the Mason PD and lieutenant for the Gallaway Police Department, falsified their timesheets by reflecting they were both working for both towns at the same time.

According to the Comptroller’s Office, they ended one shift and started another in a different town in the same minute; and submitted timesheets reflecting hours worked when they had not reported they were in-service to either Fayette or Tipton County dispatchers.

An investigative report also notes unauthorized use of Gallaway and Mason police vehicles by Barken and Sutton. The report also describes how Sutton had his personal vehicle towed to his residence in June 2020 and had the $85 towing fee billed to the Gallaway Police Department.

Investigators are questioning the legitimacy of the remaining salaries and benefits paid to Barken and Sutton from January 2019 through July 2020 due to a variety of oddities and practices noted in the report.

The investigation began after officials and citizens from both towns reported their concerns to the Comptroller’s Office.

The Fayette County Grand Jury indicted Barken and Sutton on March 28. Both men are facing charges including theft over $10,000, official misconduct and false entry in government records.

“Local officials must ensure they carefully review timesheets to be certain that employees are actually working for the hours they claim,” said Comptroller Jason Mumpower. “By asking questions and validating information, local governments can reduce the risk of improper payroll payments.”