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Council to make decision on accused Plum officer

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Plum Council might decide the fate of a Plum police officer's job tonight, Thursday. Council members are scheduled to meet in a closed session at 6:30 p.m. to review a situation involving officer Jeremy Cumberledge, who has been suspended with pay since Jan. 11 after what borough officials have said was an internal breach of the municipal computer system.

A special voting meeting has been scheduled after the closed session at 7:30 p.m.

“We need to let Jeremy Cumberledge know what career he will have in Plum,” Councilman Michael Dell said.

“It has been more than a month that he has been on paid leave.”

The computer system contained records for the borough's 67 employees.

Borough manager Michael Thomas has said that the breach did not involve any residents' information, such as tax records.

Thomas said once the breach was discovered, measures were taken to ensure it didn't happen again.

Thomas said Plum officials turned over information with respect to the computer breach to another law-enforcement agency. He declined to disclose the name of the agency.

Cumberledge's base salary is $78,817. Cumberledge did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The Fraternal Order of Police, or FOP, represents police officers in legal matters. Both FOP Lodge 91 President Henry Wiehagen and attorney Ron Koerner also did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Dell said council's options are to continue Cumberledge's suspension with pay, suspend the officer without pay, reinstate him or fire him.

“I want to hear all sides,” Dell said. “I am keeping an open mind.”

Under the borough code, an officer can be suspended without pay, removed or reduced in rank for the following reasons:

• Physical or mental disability affecting the person's ability to continue in service, in which cases the person shall receive an honorable discharge from service.

• Neglect or violation of an official duty.

• Violation of any law with the violation being a misdemeanor or felony.

• Inefficiency, neglect, intemperance, immorality, disobedience of orders or conduct unbecoming a police officer.

• Intoxication while on duty.

• Engaging or participating in any political election campaign while on duty or in uniform or while using borough property.

“We owe it to him to at least make a decision right away,” Dell said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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