Monday, February 6, 2012

Court of Appeal Upholds Police Officer's Termination

In an unpublished opinion, Lake v. City of Hercules (January 26, 2012) 2012 WL 243203, the Court of Appeal upheld a police officer's termination even though the city failed to call a key witness against her.

The plaintiff, a police officer with the City of Hercules, was assigned to an interagency narcotics task force. She told the Chief of Police she needed an assault rifle as part of those responsibilities.   However, the Chief believed she had lied to him to obtain his approval for the purchase of the rifle and she was terminated for dishonesty. The employee appealed the determination to superior court.

At trial, the officer claimed she was denied a fair administrative hearing since the City failed to call its main investigator as a witness. However, the Court found the City was not required to call the investigator as it did not rely solely on the report to prove its case.  As a result, the Court found sufficient evidence to show the employee was dishonest and upheld the termination.