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Wrongfully Terminated As Police Officer

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by Jerry_Leonard, Jun 12, 2002.

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  1. Jerry_Leonard

    Jerry_Leonard Law Topic Starter New Member

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    BACKGROUND: Experienced police officer with thirty years background. Went to work with new police department (small town) and was in service for just two days short of six months. Old chief of police, with twenty three years service with the department and a great guy, was replaced by the mayor with a new yahoo with an attitude who was his brother's best buddy. Just before my old chief was replaced and demoted in lieu of the new chief, the old chief promoted me to Captain of Police. Citing a probabtionary period, the new chief calls me in and fires me on 6 December at 7:00am, just thirty minutes before the shift ended. Prior to this, I had been injured on two occasions during investigations and arrests and had filed a workers' comp. Claim. Also, the old chief and I had a city councilman under investigation and the new chief and the mayor became aware of this from my report of investigation. The long and short of the matter is that the mayor and chief are saying that they had the right to fire me as a "probabtionary officer" just two days before the end of the six months period and all without any reason or any disciplinary actions or adverse reports at all in my file. In fact, I had not only been commended for my actions and investigations, but was promoted to "Captain," by the old chief. The old chief was demoted right before he could get retirement.
    Under KY law, there is a process by which all law enforcement officers must be handled in terms of allegations and or investigations, and or disciplinary actions and terminations. The city also has a current ordinance which clearly states that a police officer can be discharged only for "just cause." I was simply told that I was terminated and their entire ball of wax seems to rest on the question of whether I was a "probationary" officer, even though I was a Captain and the state law makes no reference to anyone being a probationary officer if they are an experienced, academy qualified police officer. There was a probationary agreement which I was forced to sign at the time of employment but my opinion is that this was an implied contract which bound both parties to satisfactory performance. I have also applied for retirement based upon my injuries and my contention is that they also violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and have failed to authorize medical treatment and fired me for having filed a claim. I have filed a pro se suit in circuit court based upon these premises. What is your opinion?
    Thanks,
    Spook
     
  2. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Have you spoken to anyone regarding this matter, e.g. those resources available to you as an officer?
     
  3. Jerry_Leonard

    Jerry_Leonard Law Topic Starter New Member

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    What other resources

    This is a very small town. The only resources are only those afforded within the state law, commonly referred to as the Policeman's Bill of Rights, and an obscure city ordinance. The FOP is useless and is run on the buddy system, and there is no union or merit system.

    Thanks
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    It is impossible to state any meaningful opinion without a personal review of all the facts of the case.

    Your leverage would come in the form of contacting ADA for firepower if necessary, should the outcome be unjust treatment. You should see where the case progresses and move your case toward the press if the town is not reasonable. As you are to be protected by the law, it should be broadly construed -- use this perspective and the available law to make your point in court. Also be aware that usually people are fired "just because" but as a result of some reason, however ludicrous. Be prepared to defend something and provide some explanation as to the town's motive to fire you, e.g. to save money, brought in someone else to take your position who is a friend of the new mayor, etc.
     

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