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Published: Saturday, 7/8/2006

Toledo police Union appeals firing of officer for dishonesty

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Police Patrolman's Association yesterday appealed a recent decision to terminate an officer after the department said she lied about an on-duty injury in which she broke her foot.

Sheila Cook, 52, a nearly 14-year veteran, was charged administratively with dishonesty and failure to report the injury in a timely manner, violations of the department's manual.

Former Police Chief Jack Smith found her guilty of the charges and recommended she be terminated for dishonesty and receive a verbal reprimand for the failure-to-report charge.

David Moebius, city safety director and assistant chief of staff, concurred with the recommended penalties.

"I feel very comfortable that when we take it to arbitration, this officer's termination will be overturned," said Dan Wagner, TPPA vice president.

He said Ms. Cook has no prior discipline on her record, not even a written reprimand.

The dishonesty charge had seven specifications, one for each time Ms. Cook reported what happened on reports, to Flower Hospital emergency room personnel, on a Bureau of Workers Compensation claim, and during internal affairs interviews.

The charges state Ms. Cook submitted an injured officer report to her shift lieutenant May 20 for an injury that occurred May 8 as she was leaving work. She said she stopped to talk to a female suspect on the front steps of the Safety Building downtown when she slipped on some gravel while on the top step. Her shoe came off, and she broke two bones in her left foot.

Video evidence from the building's surveillance cameras and a sworn statement from another officer refute the claim, according to the charges.

"Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, this was the appropriate disposition to the case, and I think it will be upheld," said the former chief, who a day after the hearing resigned as chief after a blowup with Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and returned to the rank of captain.

Mr. Wagner said the department has no evidence to back up the charges.



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