The twenty day suspensions of two Columbus Police Officers has been upheld.
Now retired Officer John Pevey and current patrolman, Officer Ric Higgins filed an appeal with the Civil Service Board after they each received a twenty day suspension for an incident that occurred in the early morning hours of January 1, 2011.
According to Chief Joseph St. John, Officer Higgins displayed “gross negligence” when he drove his car through a puddle of water at the intersection of 15th Avenue and College Street while on routine patrol. The vehicle was reportedly totaled with over $21,000 in damage. Also according to St. John, Higgins’ supervisor Lt. Pevey, did not follow proper protocol in alerting the chief of the incident. St. John recommended that both officers receive a twenty day suspension without pay and that Lt. Pevey be stripped of his rank. In a city council meeting earlier in the year, the council voted to suspend the officers but choose to leave Lt. Pevey’s rank in tact.
Pevey and Higgins filed an appeal with the Civil Service Commission in hopes of overturning the suspensions. The commission initially met on June 17th but Chief St. John, a key witness for both the prosecution and the defense, failed to appear because of an unknown illness. All testimony was heard with the exception of the chief who was to be deposed at a later date.
The Civil Service Commission met again on Thursday to hear Chief St. John’s testimony. His testimony took well over two hours and after deliberating for nearly an hour, the commission concluded that the suspensions were not made in “bad faith” and upheld the City Council’s decision.