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The soap opera over the 17 D.C. Police Department officers continues.
First these officers were fired for various acts of misconduct from lying to nepotisim to just all around judgement issues. But because the police department did not notify these officers of their terminations within the 55-day deadline, an arbitrator ruled they had to be put back on the force. Hello, Back Pay! This news came to light this week.
Now, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and other city big wigs are hoping to fire them again. In a press release sent out today from the mayor’s office, Lanier makes it plain that she doesn’t want these officers back in uniform:
Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier initiated administrative action seeking the termination for inefficiency of several officers recently reinstated to the Department. The officers were determined to have engaged in egregious misconduct that rendered them unfit to serve on the police force, but were reinstated due to administrative error. The reinstatements were ordered based upon technical and procedural violations related to the timing of the disciplinary process.
“We’re talking about serious offenses,” said Chief Lanier. “These cases raise profound issues of public safety in the District. We can’t have officers testifying in court when their credibility can’t be trusted.”
The release goes on to state:
Each case will be reviewed individually. Chief Lanier ordered today’s action after an analysis by Interim Attorney General Peter J. Nickles suggested that reinstating the officers may violate District law.
Nickles’ interpretation of District personnel law is based on Title 6, Section 1601.8 of the DC Municipal Regulations, which reads: “A deciding official may not dismiss a proposed disciplinary action solely on the basis of error in the application of the agency’s procedures which did not cause substantial harm or prejudice to the employee’s rights.”
Fenty is on board with this move, saying in the release: “The Chief’s action tells the public our officers will be honest and accountable as they perform their duties. At the same time, we’ll be sure to meet every relevant deadline in the future.”
It is unclear how many of the 17 will be looked at for another round of terminations, hearings, and, of course, arbitration sessions.