Hearing set to begin Monday for suspended Crown Point cop

2013-03-09T17:15:00Z 2013-03-10T23:35:05Z Hearing set to begin Monday for suspended Crown Point copSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | A Monday hearing in City Hall over the status of suspended police Sgt. James Poling is expected to include testimony from more than a dozen witnesses and could go on for several days.

Poling was suspended with pay Feb. 14 by the Board of Public Works and Safety at the request of Police Chief Pete Land.

A hearing of the suspension before the public works board was requested by Poling and his lawyer, Christopher Cooper. The hearing begins at 9 a.m. in the City Hall second-floor meeting room, 101 N. East St.

Cooper, who also represents Poling in a federal lawsuit against Land and Crown Point Mayor David Uran, has said he will call 16 witnesses and that the process would take at least three days.

In seeking Poling's suspension in February, Land cited 31 policies and regulations he said were violated in a May 2012 police pursuit supervised by Poling.

An internal investigation after the pursuit uncovered the violations, Land said.

The lawsuit filed Feb. 4 in federal court in Hammond alleges Uran and Land had 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 alleges in the lawsuit he was under duress when he signed a retirement agreement and that he later tried to withdraw his retirement letter.

The retirement was approved Oct. 10, 2012, by the public works board.

City officials on Feb. 14 told the public works board Poling agreed to retire and had requested and received a $13,200 early separation incentive from the city. Cooper said the check has since been returned to the city uncashed.

The public works board voted 3-0 on Feb. 14 to suspend Poling with pay pending possible termination. Board members Palmateer and Uran abstained.

Poling alleges in the federal lawsuit Palmateer pointed a gun at an off-duty police officer in July 2011.

The lawsuit also states Palmateer was arrested in Crown Point in August 2011 on a drunken driving charge. Palmateer has since pleaded guilty to reckless driving in connection with the incident.

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Crown Point, Ind. 46307
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