Crown Point cop apologizes for violating policies, stays on force

2013-03-11T11:40:00Z 2013-03-12T12:12:10Z Crown Point cop apologizes for violating policies, stays on forceSusan Erler, (219) 662-5336
March 11, 2013 11:40 am  • 

CROWN POINT | Police Sgt. James Poling was handed a 30-day unpaid suspension but will remain on the force in a settlement announced Monday by Crown Point officials.

The announcement came at the start of what was to be a Board of Public Works and Safety hearing into the board's Feb. 14 paid suspension of Poling over his handling of a May 2012 police pursuit. 

Poling apologized in writing Monday for his actions related to the chase.

"I take responsibility for errors I made pursuant to the pursuit on May 25, 2012," Poling said in part of a letter read by his lawyer, Christopher Cooper, to the public works board. 

Poling admits in the letter to violating Police Department pursuit policies and city handbook rules.

Under questioning by City Attorney David Nicholls, Poling said his apology was made voluntarily and he is satisfied with his representation by Cooper.

Police Chief Pete Land recommended disciplinary action of a 30-day unpaid suspension. The public works board approved it.

Paid vacation and compensation time can't be used in the suspension, officials said.

Poling will remain a sergeant with the Police Department, Cooper said. Previous benefits will remain in effect.

Further details of the settlement were not disclosed.

Terms of the settlement were reached Friday in meetings with city officials, Cooper said.

"It was very cordial. Everyone participated in good faith. Everyone was polite," Cooper said.

Former Mayor James Metros acted as a mediator in bringing about the settlement, Cooper said. 

A federal lawsuit filed Feb. 4 by Poling against Land and Mayor David Uran will be dismissed, Cooper said. 

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Hammond alleged Uran and Land attempted to terminate Poling's employment in retaliation for Poling signing a Crown Point Fraternal Order of Police letter objecting to Uran's January 2012 appointment of Randall Palmateer to the public works board, which oversees police matters.

Poling was FOP lodge president at the time.

Poling alleged in the lawsuit he was under duress when he then signed a retirement agreement and that he later tried to withdraw his retirement letter.

Poling has not retired from the department, Cooper said Monday.

Public works board members Palmateer and Uran abstained from votes taken Monday and on Feb. 14 regarding Poling.

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