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California council accepts police officer's resignation

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Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, 1:11 a.m.
 

A California borough police officer suspended for a month in May is officially off the force.

Terry L. Childs offered no reason for his resignation in the brief letter council accepted during a special session Thursday night. Council and Mayor Casey Durdines were equally noncommittal about the resignation. The resignation, which included a one-week notice when written, was effective Dec. 1.

At the end of the brief meeting, council President Jon Bittner announced the board conducted an executive session Tuesday to “deal with police matters.”

When pressed about which officer was discussed, Bittner acknowledged the session concerned Childs. He would provide no further details about the executive session.

Durdines, who oversees the police department, declined to discuss Childs' resignation.

“It is what it is,” Durdines said. “We wish him the best of luck.”

Childs and Officer Justin Shultz were suspended for a month without pay after they drove to Washington, Pa., to return an unmarked car during a Friday night shift May 3.

The unauthorized trip left the borough with just one available officer. In their absence, a fight broke out outside of Sigz Bistro on Second Street. Police from the Centerville, Charleroi Regional, Donora and East Bethlehem departments ended up being dispatched to the borough.

Thursday night, council was silent on Shultz's status – except to acknowledge he is “off the schedule.” No action was taken concerning Shultz's status Thursday night.

Shultz, 29, of Connellsville, was charged this week with misdemeanor counts of official oppression and simple assault.

The charges, filed by California Chief Rick Encapera, stem from an alleged early morning incident Nov. 9 involving Shultz and Adam Logan, 27, of California.

Logan was in custody at the police station around 3 a.m., awaiting arraignment on charges related to an alleged purse-snatching.

Logan was standing in a holding cell, handcuffed behind his back and secured to a bench with a leg shackle, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Video footage Encapera shared with The Valley Independent this week shows Logan appearing to continuously bicker with Shultz and two other officers as Shultz finished searching the prisoner.

The video shows the three officers leaving the cell with Logan continuing to chatter. It appears Shultz walked back in, grabbed Logan by the throat, pinned him against the wall and shook him twice. Shultz then pulled Logan toward him and slammed him to the bench and floor. Logan appeared to be in what Encapera described as “substantial pain.”

On Nov. 18, Logan waived his right to a preliminary hearing on robbery, simple assault and other charges for the alleged purse-snatching. He remains in the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $10,000 bond.

After viewing the video, Encapera said he sent an email to Shultz on Nov. 11 telling him not to come to work. The chief subsequently wrote a letter to Shultz, telling the officer he was off the work schedule.

Thursday night, Bittner said he had “no comment” on Shultz's status.

Durdines said he does not comment on personnel matters.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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