Suspensions won't hinder California police force
California borough police Chief Rick Encapera said Sunday his department will not be shorthanded despite two full-time officers serving one-month suspensions.
California council on Thursday suspended officers Justin Schultz and Terry Childs without pay after the two returned an unmarked vehicle to Washington, Pa., May 3 during a Friday night shift.
Their action left the borough with just one available officer. The trip was not authorized, Encapera said.
While Schultz and Childs were away, a fight erupted outside Sigz Bistro on Second Street.
That incident required outside assistance. Police from Centerville, Charleroi Regional, Donora and East Bethlehem responded, Encapera said. At least three people were cited in the brawl, he added.
Encapera said that although the borough is down to three full-time officers and about 10 part-timers, he was able to fill Childs' and Schultz's shifts – which total 480 hours.
“The other guys are stepping up,” he said. “I talked to the officers yesterday, and they were all penciled in for the shifts.”
It was not clear if the suspended officers will face further disciplinary action.
Mayor Casey Durdines did not return a phone message seeking comment Sunday. Councilman Phil Difilippo said he had “nothing to add” about the situation.
According to WPXI, news partner of The Valley Independent, outraged students and business owners packed a council meeting Thursday night when the suspensions were imposed.
Residents accused Schultz and Childs of unprofessional conduct and using excessive force, according to WPXI.
“That's what everyone is alleging, but I have not yet gotten any formal complaints against either officer,” Encapera said. “I have not seen anything in writing.”
While Encapera declined to say whether he thought the suspensions were fair or unfair, he said the officers were guilty of “bad timing” and “poor discretion” for leaving on a shift that's ripe for alcohol-related incidents.
Sigz Bistro is one of several businesses bordering the California University of Pennsylvania campus.
“It's a spring weekend and only a couple more weeks before school was out, and the weather was nice,” Encapera said of May 3. “There were other times in the schedule that those guys could have returned the vehicle … They picked the wrong time.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More charges filed against alleged ‘Spider-Man’ robber
- Hartman returns to coach American Legion ball in Mon Valley
- Trial to begin Monday in Rostraver home invasion
- California woman’s tale of Army Reserve service told in Sen. McCain’s book
- Benefit 5K race, bike run planned for Mon Valley
- Man with Donora roots promoted to Air Force colonel
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Young anglers reel ’em in at Monongahela fishing derby
- Many in Mon Valley made news as area prepared for past holidays
- California, Pa. native John Messana hit high notes in opera, culinary roles
- Donora woman wins state nursing award