Letter to the Editor

City responds to officer firing issue

Friday, March 24, 2006

As former officers Osburn and Kent have made publicly known, both were recently terminated from the police department. Prior to termination, both received notice of this possible action and were offered the opportunity to present a full response. Upon consideration of all of the facts and circumstances, it was determined that termination was warranted. Although the officers were specifically informed of their rights under city code to appeal this action to the Personnel Hearing Board, neither did so.

After refusing to use the proper appeal process, these former officers have chosen to make unfounded allegations against the city concerning their termination. Although both allege that their terminations had something to do with public safety concerns, which they raised within the police department, this is not the case. No improper or unlawful consideration played any part in the decision to terminate their employment.

In late 2003, the police department reorganized its internal operations and created the Communications and Records Department. This department has its own chief, and is responsible for police dispatch operations. Former officers Osburn and Kent appear to have taken personal issue with the reorganization that occurred within the police department, and other internal personnel issues.

Despite what these former officers would have believed, the department fully investigated all matters at the time that they occurred, and responded to these officers specifically about them. Unfortunately, they failed or refused to accept the proper resolution of these internal issues, or supervisory instructions concerning them. Ultimately, the conduct of these officers led to an internal personnel complaint against them by other personnel, and their proper termination.

If these former officers have genuine public safety concerns as they allege, it is questionable why they would not have approached the city manager directly, why they would not have approached the city council directly (which they were told they were free to do personally as citizens if they desired), and why they would not have appealed their terminations as permitted by city code. Under the circumstances, one reasonably must question the motive behind these current allegations, and the manner in which they are being made.

-- Whitney Davis

Human resources director, city of Nevada.