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Penn Township Commissioners fire injured patrolman

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By Chris Foreman
Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Penn Township commissioners last week fired an officer who was unable to pass a physical after being injured in an off-duty motorcycle crash in Monroeville last year.

Nicholas Caito, 34, had been off work since an April 15, 2013, crash that happened two months after he started a probationary period with the police department, township officials said.

The Penn Township Police Wage and Policy Committee agreed in October to extend Caito's probation until April 1, but Caito was unable to pass the physical-agility test to be able to return to work, Penn Township manager Bruce Light said.

Commissioners voted unanimously on April 16 to fire Caito.

“That's an unfortunate situation that he and we had to deal with, and I certainly sympathize with him losing his job,” police Chief John Otto said.

Caito, a former Glassport officer, said he was disappointed about the firing. The only part of the physical he failed, Caito said, was a 1.5-mile run because of pain in one of his ankles.

Caito said he consulted with a couple of attorneys and the department's union about any potential legal recourse but was advised that his options are limited because he was on probation.

After losing the full-time position, Caito said, he is trying to pick up part-time shifts in Port Vue, Liberty and Glassport.

“I'm stuck between a rock and a bigger rock,” he said. “I would like to be back in Penn Township. It's a career that people retire from.”

Caito's spot on the roster will be filled by Penn Township native Blake Danowski, 27.

Danowski, an officer in Delmont, will earn a $50,441 annual salary.

His May 5 start date is pending physical and psychological exams.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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