CROWN POINT | A second lawyer will be hired to help present the city's case in an upcoming hearing into the suspension of a Crown Point police officer.
The lawyer, yet to be named, will work with Arlington Foley, a Crown Point-based lawyer already hired for the case. The hearing is set to begin March 11 and is expected to last several days.
Approval to hire the second lawyer and a court reporter for the hearing was granted Wednesday by the Board of Public Works and Safety. Hourly fees for the attorneys and court reporter have yet to be determined.
Sgt. James Poling was placed on paid leave Feb. 14 by the Board of Public Works and Safety, at the request of Police Chief Pete Land.
Land cited 31 city and Police Department policies and regulations he said were violated in a May 2012 police pursuit supervised by Poling.
Poling's lawyer, Christopher Cooper, requested the hearing. Cooper has said he expects to call 16 witnesses to testify.
Information and documents requested for the hearing are being readied by several city departments, City Attorney David Nicholls said.
"A lot of work has to be done and in a relatively short period of time," Nicholls said.
The law requires a hearing within 30 days of a suspension.
A lawsuit brought Feb. 4 by Poling against Land and Mayor David Uran is pending in federal court in Hammond.
The lawsuit alleges Poling was under duress when he agreed last year to retire in April. Poling said he later tried to withdraw the retirement letter.
The lawsuit alleges Land and Uran attempted to terminate Poling's employment in retaliation for Poling objecting to Uran's 2012 appointment of Randall Palmateer to the Board of Public Works and Safety, which oversees police matters.
City officials said Poling, after agreeing to retire, requested and received a $13,200 early separation incentive from the city. Cooper said the check has since been returned uncashed.