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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

METAIRIE, La. -- A Jefferson Parish deputy is under investigation after a citizen snapped pictures of him sleeping in his patrol car.

The deputy was identified as Lawrence Simmons, a 32-year veteran of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff'sOffice. He is assigned to the department's 4th District on the east bank of the parish.

A concerned citizen took several pictures of Simmons after witnessing him sleeping in his patrol car around 8:45 a.m. Monday.

'Obviously, it is against the policy of department to sleep while on duty,' said Sheriff Newell Normand.

Normand confirms Simmons was caught on camera while working a detail at the Metairie Lowes home improvement store. He sent pictures of the sleeping deputy to his internal affairs department to investigate.

'If you're not in a position to stay awake, you owe it to the person you're working for, whether that be me or the third party detail company that you're working for, to go home,' Normand said. 'You're not paying people to sleep. I don't pay people to sleep.'

The manager on duty at Lowes declined to comment, saying it would violate a corporate policy.

Shoppers had mixed opinions of the sleeping deputy.

'It was pretty evident that he was asleep in there,' said David Billings. 'He was comfortable. They should be more alert than that.'

'I hate to knock a patrolman like that,' said Louis Sher. 'Give him the benefit of the doubt this time.'

'Probably ought to reduce his pay by his sleep time,' said Normand Dufour. 'He shouldn't be sleeping if he's on duty, obviously.'

The sheriff said there are safeguards built into the JPSO detail policy to make sure deputies are not over worked or overly tired. Deputies are only allowed to work 36 hours of details in a seven-day period. They also can only work a total of 16 hours per 24-hour period.

'This is a classic example. If you're on duty and you don't want to be video taped sleeping, I suggest you don't sleep,' said Normand.

The sheriff said internal affairs will take into consideration any plausible explanation Simmons may have for falling asleep on the job.

'There might have been a sick child or they may be a caretaker for somebody and they were up all night,' said Normand. 'You never know. That's the purpose of the internal affairs investigation is to get to the bottom of this.'

Simmons is expected to remain on duty, pending the results of the investigation.

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